Ebola, Famine and fighting in Africa………. Rape, murder, racism, religious oppression and high explosives in the Middle East….. On the brink of war in Ukraine……..HE certainly DOES move in mysterious ways!
During the last week, the disingenuousness of the rabble-rousing Socialist press has plumbed new depths. In fact, in the last few days, they truly dived the Mariana Trench of modern journalism. They have taken every opportunity to vilify a confused 87 year-old lady who finished her days not within the homely intimacy of family life but in a London hotel surrounded by hired help. We may deduce that in her final days, not only the gutter press but even her own family failed her. They all failed to deliver on something quite prosaic….Humanity.
Luckily, with the whole world watching, the British people did deliver. They stood and threw flowers. They cheered and they clapped. Admittedly, there were a few morons who turned their backs and jeered at Margaret Thatcher’s coffin as it passed – but WHY? At whom was their gesture aimed? Obviously not at La Thatcher because she was dead. Was it aimed at the world? That could not have been the case because these were mostly sad , anonymous small people and their 5-seconds of TV fame would not even have registered.
It was all pointless, as were the “parties” and protests organised by those massively over-romanticised Men with Shovels who used to dig coal from the ground. Get over yourselves, lads!
Inside St Paul’s, a tear flowed down Chancellor Gideon’s cheek. He appeared to be blubbering over his spiritual heroine. What’s wrong with that? Does that make him a wimp? Only in the jaundiced eye of the Socialist hack. Here’s just one of today’s headlines: “A CYNICAL attempt to prove he’s human!”
We ALL cry – or should I say….we all SHOULD cry.
I cried when I held my first child. I cried even more when the fifth one arrived. I cried when I touched my father’s cold face as he lay in his coffin. I always cry when I hear “O Holy Night”. I’ve cried watching a screaming man burn to death in an upturned mangled car. I cried when the police called me to attend an accident and I saw two dead kids. One was still holding his teddy bear…..and I always cry at funerals because they remind me of stuff which I don’t normally think about.
I am not a wimp and neither is George Osborne. There is nothing wrong with empathy, compassion and humanity.
Tomorrow and over the weekend, bullshit-hardened Socialist hacks will be ladling bucketloads of their own brand of cynicism over us like sub-zero Vichyssoise. The Chancellor has given them “an angle”.
The protesters – the anti-Thatcher brigade – are not just angry at a lady who they believe wronged them, their families or their friends. They are angry at a malformed distorted legend fed by a million words of misrepresentation, exaggeration and embellishment. It’s been going on for over forty years, starting on rattly old battered Remingtons in peeling hot Fleet Street offices in the middle of town and will finally end somewhere south of the Thames on nice new Flat Screens in the air-conditioned splendour of a newspaper office somewhere on an industrial estate. THAT’S how long this great lady was among us.
Then…..when you’ve all had your fun………….may she finally rest in peace.
Here we go! The Vatican has denied that Pope Francis failed to speak out against human rights abuses during military rule in his native Argentina. HERE.
Pope Francis: The Vatspin Machine is already briefing that the new Pope is “ever so ‘umble” and that he “takes the bus”. We’ll allow the world’s Catholics and those dewy-eyed St Peter’s Square groupies a few days of post-white-smoke euphoria, away from the harsh realities of the Vatican’s protectively mute conservatism. What the rest of the world needs to see is a reforming Pope who will restore the Holy Roman Church’s good name. That can be best set into motion by a showing us a long line of defrocked abuser-priests banged-up in the world’s harshest prisons with the appropriate compensation having been paid to the thousands of victims that they have damaged. All previous Popes appear to have been concerned solely with smothering the truth in the vain hope of self-preservation and protection the Church’s image. Enough.
I am NOT writing this because I’m a sick dude. I am writing it because I am totally cynical in respect of all of the machinations, exaggerations, theatre and downright nonsense of the senior Men in Frocks who run the Holy Roman Church.
Do NOT be surprised if the Pope Emeritus expires on or soon after the installation of the new Pope…….. and finally goes to meet his God.
It will then be promulgated by the Vatican as a major miracle!
(Do not put it past them!)
Last year’s predictions are HERE.
Some were right, some were nearly right whilst others were nowhere near! That’s because most forecasting is a mixture of extrapolation, conjecture, wishful-thinking and luck…………..apart, that is, political and economic divination , which also includes an unhealthy slice of blind optimism.
My interests are mainly political and economic although the list below contains a few random “fun” ones!
I have not included too much of the blindingly obvious, such as the 2013 Eurovision Song Contest in Malmö, where the United Kingdom will be in the bottom THREE and the most likely winner will be Scandinavian.
Wishful thinking has been avoided. For example I do wish that Mo Farah would stop sticking his hands on his head and doing an impression of a demented Pretzel in a vest!
Conjecture, based on past performance suggests that there will NOT be any banking reorganisation because of vested interests and political cowardice. Governments have it within their power to keep that particular pot boiling for years!
All Eurozone Crisis predictions of the last four years vastly underestimated politicians’ capacity for procrastination, ineptitude and political self-interest.
However, I do perceive that European countries with reasonably strong economies will begin to see the advantage of NOT prolonging the Euro agony and once again, striking out on their own, setting their own interest rates and returning to the Lira or Peseta!
These are my predictions:
1. Gold will skyrocket in value.
2. Brazil will finally become THE place to invest(shares and currency)….but see 41 & 42 below.
3. Germany will accelerate the sale of its Bunds, in spite of the fact that it hopes to sell about only about €250 billion Euros’ worth which is lower than in 2012.
4. As predicted last year, Silvio Berlusconi will reappear in Italian Politics – much to Frau Merkel’s chagrin.
5. Pressure will increase on Chancellor George Osborne to be replaced (It’s the ONLY way that the Coalition can move to Plan B without too much loss of face).
6. The banks will continue to rebuild their balance sheets as the value of their assets diminishes, resulting in an increase of non-bank lending. Credit Unions, peer-to-per lending, asset leasing, community finance organisations and invoice finance will all accelerate as the banking system continues its introspection.
7. United Kingdom property prices will fall by 25%.
8. Frau Merkel will be re-elected and continue as Germany’s Chancellor.
9. Italy will talk about leaving the Euro and readopting the Lira…………..and Berlusconi will be accused of blackmailing Europe.
10. People-power will win-out in Greece and it too will (finally) seriously consider leaving the Euro as its austerity programme is given a violent “thumbs down” by its people.
11. The theoretical €30 billion in French tax hikes will have a negligible effect on its tax “take”. High net worth individuals and businesses will continue the exodus which began in late 2012.
12. Greek banks will begin to totter as loan defaults by Greek borrowers (both personal and commercial) continue to accelerate.
13. The “restructuring” of Spanish banks will fail.
14. David Cameron and other members of the UK Coalition Government will continue to add 100,000 to the ” number of new jobs we have created in the Private Sector” every time they make a speech. By mid-2013, the “figure” will have swollen to over 1.5 million. Unfortunately without the associated increase in tax-take which one may be forgiven for having expected.
15. Japan printing money will result in a currency battle, primarily involving the American dollar.
16. Greek Tax authorities (in spite of all those reorganisation noises!) will still fail to collect the taxes.
17. David Cameron will realise that UKIP is a clear and present danger and will begin the fight-back by the only way possible. He will adopt their policies and reinforce that by continuing to spray copious volumes of testosterone in Brussels.
18. Mario Monti will stand for election in Italy in a last-ditch attempt to maintain the stranglehold on European politics by Goldman Sachs old boys.
19. The Euro will make its annual journey “to the brink”.
20. Protests will accelerate across Europe – into the United Kingdom….as voters wake-up to the politicians’ ineptitude, procrastination and complacency. Voting-out incompetent governments and merely replacing them with incompetent outfits of another flavour will no longer be viewed as the solution.
21. In France, Francois Hollande will continue to demonstrate why the French don’t really appreciate Presidents who are Socialist.
22. The ECB’s Mario Draghi will once again tell the world that he will do “all it takes” to keep the Euro intact…..including the ruination of millions of Euro lives.
23. Someone, somewhere will wake up to the fact that the banking system is not working and has morphed into a fat, ever-hungry cash cow which no longer executes the functions which it was designed for (to support individuals, commerce and government).
24. Youth Unemployment in Greece and Spain will approach 60%.
25. By the end of 2013,the Catalans and the Basques will decide on their self-determination.
26. There will be a massive surge in the Spanish anti-Royalist movement and the Spanish Royal family will feel “unloved” as demands are made for the abdication of King Juan-Carlos.
27.The Franco-German Euro Axis will be consigned to the poubelle of history as Frau Merkel finds herself another “favourite”.
28.There will be an exodus of high-earners from France in protest to the Socialist-style “Politics of Envy” taxes on those earning over €1 million.
29. British P.M David Cameron will continue to bang-on about “the mess that Labour left behind” – THREE years after coming to office. That will remind the electorate that in spite of the PR, the Coalition still has no idea about how to deal with the budget deficit, except to adopt the bad part of the Merkel Model.
30. Japan’s money-printing programme will drive up its inflation, to match (and exceed) that of the USA, possibly achieving “hyper” levels. Then, they’ll print some more!
31. USA: There will be no “Fiscal Cliff”. The cracks in policy will be papered over by compromise and political expediency………. as America lurches towards the next crisis.
32. In the UK, the Church of England will continue to fret about sex-related matters such as gays, gay marriage and lady bishops. Hopefully, some of them will find a bit of time for their God and congregation!
33. The winners of the X-factor and Britain’s got Talent will have no discernible…………talent. (That’s my annual, sure-fire, 24-carat banker!)
34. In Europe (as usual), neither Barroso nor Van Rompuy will say anything REMOTELY interesting or pertinent.
35. Europe will continue to TALK of fiscal and political integration………but that’s what it will remain…..TALK. Why? Because one of the by-products would have to be some form of Debt-Mutualisation which so far, remains a deal-breaker.
36. German resistance to European supervision of the banks will result in the smaller banks remaining unsupervised.
37. In Italy, Mario Monti has clearly demonstrated the usefulness of a government of Technocrats: they have pushed through economic reforms and budget cuts which a properly-elected government would have NO CHANCE of implementing. However, the honeymoon appears to be over and Italy will return to a Berlusconi-led coalition.
38. Bundeskanzlerin Merkel will strengthen her position as de facto European leader as other (weaker, male) European leaders (half of who are on their way out – including the UK administration) continue to defer to her.
39. After the German elections, Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats will form a new coalition with the Social Democrats.
40. Stagnation, Recession and Depression will continue in Europe. Greece will remain in depression (yes!), as will Spain and Portugal.
41. If you’re an investor, you could do worse than keep an eye on Mongolia’s mining boom which will pick up speed in 2013.
42. If you’re a gambling person, here’s an interesting “double”. Lord Patten to resign as BBC Chair . Then, invest your winnings on anything in Macau whose economy is booked to grow by about 15% in 2013.
43. The “in denial” UK Coalition Government will continue to spout meaningless statistics as the retail trade continues its slow-motion collapse and accelerating volumes of businesses go into administration and bankruptcy.
44. The Protestant Church will begin to turn more to Bible-centred Christianity – away from the airy-fairy, trendy, unleaded and flaccid Christianity of the Rowan Williams era. More “splintering”.
45. Last year I predicted a dismembering of the UK’s Coalition government but now realise that it was just wishful thinking. I underestimated how much Tory crap Nick Clegg could swallow. Last year, his capacity seemed infinite. However, for 2013, I predict that Europe will provide the catalyst for an all-out Coalition Civil War.
46. Unless the Chancellor can sell 5G, 6G and all the other “G” Futures and assuming he collects for 4G, there will be a massive government Welfare Review designed to further butcher Public Spending. ( He has no choice because of his rather stunted economic repertoire). That will finally shake the Libdems from their collective coma and fight the Tories. Otherwise…….Libdem Oblivion.
47. “Dead-tree” journalism will continue to atrophy and die with an announcement that at least one major newspaper is to go exclusively digital. (My money is on the Guardian).
48. Massive Solar storms may envelop the Earth which, according to NASA, could render the above predictions both irrelevant and obsolete. Keep an eye on www.swpc.noaa.gov
49. Andrew Mitchell MP will make a return appearance in the Cabinet after the nonsense of allowing the police to investigate themselves in what is increasingly looking like the fit-up of the year.
50. William Hague and Hillary Clinton will keep-on “condemning” the Syrian Authorities as they continue to murder with impunity. Western powers have learned that when they intervene in the Middle East – only one group ever benefits: The Construction Industry.
The Eurozone has gradually and imperceptibly acquired all the unsavoury aspects of a religion – and we don’t even appear to have noticed!
For instance, Greece is having to do PENANCE (austerity) as punishment for its past sins. Others are already gathering to follow the Greek example. The HOLY EURO demands it!
All believers need HOPE in order to believe. The Eurozone hope is provided by the ECB which may or may not decide to help. Sometimes it is merciful but yet on other occasions it gives the impression that perhaps Euromortals should be allowed to make their mistakes and then clear up the mess themselves. Freewill or Predestination?
Then of course, any religion worth its salt has its Unique Selling Proposition. The most simple and powerful is the promise of an afterlife or , more accurately, the choice between TWO afterlives. One where the Euro remains intact and everyone lives happily ever after (HEAVEN). The other is the threat of HELL should the Euro break up. However, the Eurozone High Priests have provided a third way – PURGATORY – where the genuinely penitent can suffer for a while so that their transgressions (SINS) may be forgiven.
(Greece is currently languishing in PURGATORY with its cilice so tight that it has begun to draw blood).
Every religion has a DOGMA. That is provided by the strong belief that Monetary Union is the only true Path of Righteousness.
The DOCTRINE is extracted from the many words which have been handed down over the years. They are true because it has been written that they are true. (See Maastricht Treaty).
There are RITUALS – every religion has its rituals. The Eurozone rituals are mysterious and enacted during the frequent MEETINGS of the High Priests with the important rituals being acted-out in THEIR own Vatican, which is in Brussels but some believe that it is in Berlin. Every such ritual generates words for the believers – but just like every other religion, the words have become repetitive and Mantra-like with little real meaning or relevance.
There has to be a MYTH. Something which , even in the face of overwhelming evidence , remains sacred. Theirs is THE HOLY EURO…..
Every religion has its DETRACTORS – those who may wish to modify or change either the beliefs or the mode of worship. There are those who would REFORM. Europe has such an enemy within – it’s own JUDAS. It is called the United Kingdom – which is sometimes viewed (by High Priestess Merkel) as the DEVIL incarnate.
It is appropriate to highlight the New Religion this week because it is the time when the new round of meetings and pilgrimages begins.
At the end of this Holy Euro Week, there will be no changes but the faith of many will be strengthened by the promises of the High Priests.
Amen. May the blessings of the Euro be with you.
Syria: Usually in a Civil War, the model is pretty straightforward: The Good Guys versus the Bad Guys.
In Syria, they appear to have adopted to European Union Organisational model with LOTS of Chiefs and even more confused “Indians”.
These are some of the various flavours of Syrian good and bad guys:
The Assad Government, the Syrian National Council,the National Co-ordination Committee, the Syrian Patriotic Group,the Free Syria Army, the Free Officers Movement, the Syrian Liberation Army, the Military Council, the Shabiha, the Martyr Hisham Brigade, the Ibn Malik Martyrs Brigade, the Maarratt al-Numan Martyrs Brigade, the Salhauddin [Saladin] Brigade, the Fallujah Brigade.
There is only ONE ultimate solution:
Arm the lot of them.
Then, when it REALLY kicks off, send in William Hague to “condemn” and “deplore” them.
As usual, the West has allowed the situation to develop too far, creating yet another insoluble problem.
Cave In Assad!
Nowadays, the bank to government to Central Bank and back to bank cross-border flows of money (both real and imaginary), the constant borrowing and re-borrowing , the bond auctions etc. appear to be behaving as if controlled by a separate, non-governmental , non-economic entity.
Sovereign bond auctions have now become a weekly sport, generating the sort of interest formerly reserved only for TV soap operas.
European banks gather around the European Central Bank like pigeons at feeding time.
Rather worryingly, this new pseudo-economic essence behaves as if it is more-or-less dislocated from what we call “the Global Economy”.
It is the Macro Banking System. The FIFTH ESTATE.**
It is behaving as a totally separate, self-perpetuating, high-level mutant economy which exists for its own sake and is presided over by senior bankers and financiers with politicians merely fetching and carrying.
One of the symptoms which we are currently witnessing is the demise of democratically-elected officials. Their status seems to be diminishing day-by-day, to the extent that their job is simply to row the boat according to the drumbeat set by very senior bankers – the New Rulers.
The very people who created this financial crisis four years ago have gradually created a brand-new debt-fuelled edifice which has become anchored both in the economy as well as in our collective psyche. We have come to see the Debt Mountain as our Saviour with Central Bankers in the role of its High Priests.
The concept has become so embedded, that we have grown to believe that only they (the High Priests) can save us.
This new entity appears divorced from the old-fashioned concepts of growth, production and distribution and now only needs sovereign economies to feed it occasionally.
This gradual power-shift has only occurred in the last year-or-so and so, imperceptibly, we have entered an age where politicians have finally become subservient to the bankers.
The jury is still out as to whether the development of this new ruling financial class is good or bad or even sinister. The Conspiracy Theorists have notions of Bilderbergers, a New World Order and all sorts of other conspiracies – I do NOT subscribe to that view.
Politicians have shown that they do not have the intellectual or technical capacities to deal with a multi-causal, multi-faceted, vastly complicated economic crisis, borne more out of greed-conceived chaos, rather than the usual rules of Keynesian economics.
We have to take a leaf out of the politicians’ book.
Heads bowed, we wait.
** First Estate – Clergy. Second Estate – Nobility. Third Estate – Commoners. Fourth Estate – the Press.
Post-Saddam-type chaos in Libya will NOT be avoided. That’s nigh-on impossible.
One of the overlooked plans of the Iraq campaign was the Exit Strategy. Well, bugger me, the West has done it again in Libya.
The next major initiative will be the customary “Humanitarian Assistance” which is as good an excuse as any to maintain a military presence to ensure that the fuzzy-wuzzies keep in line.
THAT is going to be the most impossible task. The average Libyan’s loyalties are like this: 1. Family 2. Tribe 3. State Flag…….. In that order.
NOTHING but a totalitarian state can keep tribal factions in line. Government by Brutality appears to be the only way to stop tribes from killing each other. Saddam demonstrated that in Iraq and every other state in the Middle East continues to suppress its people – but for very valid reasons.
Democracy is an anathema to tribal people. It is an alien concept.
In Libya’s case, the theory is that a fiefdom which has controlled many tribes through the medium of suppression can be turned into a democracy. Politicians may not have yet noticed that such a thing has never been done. It’s been tried on many occasions but so far, without success.
The most likely outcome in Libya is either the emergence of another authoritarian leader or the breakup of a country which was a western construct in the first place. It is a politically barren place with no political parties or constitution.
Meanwhile, the rebels are heading for Gaddafi City – SIRTE. One hopes that they all remember that the Tahoura Research Centre near Tripoli houses (or housed) the remnants of Libya’s nuclear programme. There are stocks of nuclear material which could easily be turned into a “dirty” bomb.
There has already been a half-hearted attempt to launch a Scud missile so hopefully, the rebels do not, once again find themselves on the receiving end, should Gaddafi supporters decide to surprise them.
Luckily, the BBC’s John Simpson has finally arrived in Libya – so all should be well. We don’t yet know whether he travelled across the desert with the Tuaregs or whether he is wearing the customary tea-towel on his head but after hearing of his exploits in Afghanistan, it’s possible. He’ll know what to do.
Meanwhile the next battle that into which new Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril will have to lead his people will be the rather unedifying soon-to-be-fought campaign for Libyan reconstruction.
The cue for the Western invasion is the phrase “Humanitarian Catastrophe”. Look out for that one.
p.s. The politicians appear to be surprised by the fact that, in spite of the announcement that the war in Libya had been won, the fighting appears to be continuing. Just like Iraq.
There appear to be more and more self-appointed “GURUS” on the Internet: Finance Guru, Lifestyle Guru, Management Guru….the list is endless.
I used to be one of those but luckily managed to extract my head from my ass before it was too late.
Please don’t do it.
I now prefer the more modest “Messiah”.
Yesterday, I was listening to the BBC World Service when I was surprised to hear a presenter use the word “Asyla” as a plural of Asylum. WTF? People who do that are nothing but pretentious scrota.
Tomorrow, if Ben Bernanke announces that the Fed is going to print yet more “empty” dollars, he will be introducing yet more inflation into the US economy. Markets will recommence their downward slide and investors will all rush-off in the direction of the Bullion Markets.
If however, there is no further printing of dollars and QE3 does not happen, the likelihood is that the American economy will collapse as investors all rush off in the direction of the Bullion Markets.
Either way, gold is the safest bet.
Meanwhile in Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is also between a rock and a hard place. If she agrees to fully support lame-duck Euro economies through the issue of the Euro Bond – so that countries such as Greece are able to enjoy unlimited credit at reasonable rates, she risks a rebellion back home from the Christian Democratic Party as well as from an electorate which does not wish to donate any more to broken Euro economies.
However, if there is no mechanism to support poorer Euro states, the Euro could collapse, together with the German economy.
By the way, it is time to start worrying about the world’s Stock Markets. Starting tomorrow.
Today, Liberals are UP(!) 4% in the latest opinion poll. Does that mean that there may be a change of plan in Nick Clegg being handed a sexy European Parliament job as a consolation prize after the 2015 General Election?
In response to emails concerning my dog…
I am sick and tired of receiving questions about my dog who mauled an illegal immigrant, two rappers, a hoodie-looter with hanging-past-the-crack tracksuit bottoms , three Sub-continent customer service clerks speaking broken English, one Member of Parliament, two policemen, three flag burners and a taxi driver.
FOR THE LAST TIME…THE DOG IS NOT FOR SALE !
Press release from HM Treasury: http://bit.ly/oIgJbo
Record results! Congratulations kids – another record year. You must have worked SOOO hard.
Here’s something for the cleverer ones to colour-in:
“I condemn you, Gaddafi!!”
William Hague briefly came out from behind America’s voluminous skirts a couple of days ago to announce that the Libyan embassy was to be cleared of pro Gaddafi officials and that they would be replaced by rebels.
Has there ever been a more puerile sign of frustration from a grown-up politician?
The thwarted Western powers, represented by NATO have made little progress since the initial Benghazi protests and riots six months ago. The protesters shouted “democracy” and as usual, the politicians came running. Most neutral observers have learned that any Middle Eastern protest is absolutely nothing to do with democracy, free speech or any of the other Western indulgences that we have become used to.
It has always been about power and economics. The poor, the impressionable young and the students riot, whilst the intelligentsia and the military plot behind their king’s back. They are the ones who enjoy the spoils of war. Life doesn’t really change for the poor and the young. Life rarely changes for the poor.
Decisions made by politicians in respect of Libya seem to have been made with one eye on the oil with the other on the opinion polls. In spite of the rhetoric, this has never really been about “The Libyan People”
President Sarkozy of France had hoped to make a victorious announcement on Bastille Day because all that he’s thinking about at the moment is re-election. Hopefully he will soon accept that it is not going to happen for him and that although he somehow made it to the top of the greasy French political pole, his grip has never been that strong and he has been sliding back down ever since. His involvement in the Libya bombing should help him along on his journey south.
William Hague on the other hand has been handed the Foreign Office as a bit of a consolation prize, following the disaster of his leadership and the years spent in comparative obscurity . Rather worryingly though, he remains one of the more talented members of the Cabinet. From the beginning he has looked not only out of sorts but out of his depth when dealing with a soldier-politician as slippery as Col Gaddafi.
Obama has much bigger things on his plate at the moment and his own re-election chances may also have been dealt a fatal blow by Libya – although his advisers seem to have foreseen Gaddafi’s intransigence. A small blessing for Obama is that America went into reverse gear on Libya a few months ago. He had little choice in the matter.
We’ve had sanctions, we’ve had “no fly” zones, we’ve had bombing and we have had strong words. Libya’s assets were frozen, the Gaddafi family’s assets were stolen but still, the mad Col continues to elude all attempts to oust him. Surprisingly, to some, it was predictable from the very beginning. Unlike Mubarak, Gaddafi sees himself as Emperor of Libya – the first of a dynasty. Imperator Muammar l.
One wonders what ever happened to the “that’s up to the Libyan people” mantra? It seems that everything is up to the Libyan people apart from who rules over them. That appears to be in the gift of the West. Even if two-thirds of the 6.4 million population of Libya have abandoned Gaddafi, that still leaves him far more support than Obama, Sarkozy or Cameron enjoy back home.
The propaganda machine has convinced us that Gaddafi is a BAD person. However, it is not Gaddafi who is dropping high-explosive on someone that he does not approve of.
Why is it that whenever we see any sort of conflict, we feel that we (United Kingdom) have to elbow our way nearly to the front of the queue, stand behind the the muscled bully-boy friend that is the United States of America and jump out occasionally to yap like a toothless, castrated old Jack Russell.
This so-called “Arabs Spring” is a headline writer’s nonsense. It is no Solidarność and it is no knocking down of the Berlin Wall. It started with a bunch of vandals and students waving placards believing that the mere act of defiance would be enough to remove Gaddafi. They chanted the “D” word. D E M O C R A C Y!
What they would prefer is a box of food and a TV set.
Yes, they fooled us into thinking and believing that what they want is democracy. In fact all they want is a fair share of the oil spoils, more money in their pockets and a State which cares about them.
There is little doubt that Gaddafi has gone way past his sell-by date and that he’s no longer even fit to run a British Nursing Home. Unfortunately, it usually takes a country a few years to realise that things are better than they were but not as good as they could be.
Gaddafi used to be a hero as he had liberated “his” people from the oppression and the years of Stone Age “nothing” under King Idris. As has been shown in many other states from France to Iran, deposing one set of royals invariably results in a temporary euphoria, followed by the installation another set of unelected “royals”.
Gaddafi ( just like a French President) has developed into their new King, his children are his heirs and his primary method of ensuring the faithfulness of those who matter, is through the medium of the bestowal of money and favours. Nothing unusual in that! That what kings do!
Six months ago, the West’s initial reaction to the Libyan friction was the usual formulaic stuff. It had recently been practiced on Mubarak. Our governments “condemned” Gaddafi’s actions. One day the United Kingdom and others will realise that words such as “we condemn” or “we call upon……” no longer frighten “the natives”.
We fell into a trap similar to the one that Saddam inadvertently sprung (on himself) when he appeared to exaggerate his own military prowess.
Gaddafi, on the other hand, threatened to “kill his own people”.
That is the “Way of the Dictator”!
Dictators always seems to end up behaving just like the has-been heavyweight boxer who craves recognition and needs to reassert his rapidly diminishing masculinity and popularity. It’s “Dictator Trash Talk”. It’s plastic defiance and paper posturing. It’s NOT real!
And we fall for it every time.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican told bishops around the world Monday that they must make it a global priority to root out sexual abuse of children by priests.
The Roman Catholic Church told bishops in a letter that they should cooperate with civil authorities to end the abuse that has tarnished its image around the world.
“This is telling the world that we mean business. We want to be an example of prevention and care,” said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
The letter is intended to help every diocese draw up its own tough guidelines, based on a global approach but in line with local civil law. These must be sent to the Vatican for review within a year.
“The responsibility for dealing with delicts (crimes) of sexual abuse of minors by clerics belongs in the first place to the diocesan bishop,” the letter says.
It incorporates sweeping revisions made last year to the Church’s laws on sexual abuse, which doubled a statute of limitations for disciplinary action against priests and extended the use of fast-track procedures to defrock them.
The Vatican has for years been struggling to control the damage that sexual abuse scandals in the United States and several European countries, including Pope Benedict’s native Germany, have done to the Church’s image.
“This goes beyond what was done before,” the Vatican official said. “It is setting up a standard of best principles, best policy to be followed globally. It makes protection of minors a paramount principle and takes a long-term view because it talks about the formation of future priests.”
The scandal has led to the resignation of bishops in several countries. Last year, Benedict begged forgiveness from God and from abuse victims, and said the church would do everything in its power to ensure that it never happened again.
The Vatican official said that if local civil legislation requires that bishops report sex offenders directly to authorities, they are obliged to do so and the guidelines will include this.
Victims groups said they were not satisfied.
“There’s no “zero tolerance” or “mandatory reporting” requirement. There’s no insistence that bishops warn their flock about child molesting clerics. There’s nothing that will make a child safer today or tomorrow or next month or next year,” said SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
The letter tells bishops they must be prepared to listen to the victims and their families and be committed to their spiritual and psychological assistance. Bishops must be more careful in choosing candidates for the priesthood in order to weed out early those who are or could become sex abusers.
It says that while those accused of being sexual abusers have to be treated fairly and with due process, those who are known to be abusers must be excluded from the public ministry.
In many of the cases of sexual abuse around the world, local bishops allowed known abusers to be moved from parish to parish instead of being defrocked.
By Philip Pullella
(Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Mark Heinrich)
Muammar Gaddafi has probably been studied by the West more than any other post-war leader, yet, judging by the way that he is being treated by the anti Gaddafi, pro-rebel Coalition, it is plain to see that to them, he is still an enigma.
Over the years, I have had contact with many corporate dictators and the behaviours which they exhibit bear a striking resemblance to those of Gaddafi and the only other comparable despot within the last few years – Saddam Hussein. One thing that I can report with certainty: they cannot be changed. Their behaviours are hard-wired.
Dictators rule by fear but ironically, they themselves are ruled by their own fears. Outwardly, they appear to have developed the symptoms of paranoia and as their career progresses, they believe (quite rightly) that there are fewer and fewer people that they can trust. Those feelings of universal mistrust eventually put them onto a self-destructive path which always leads to either their death or foreign exile. There is NO retirement home for them!
Gaddafi probably employs food tasters, doubles, sleeps at numerous locations and has all visitors searched. He definitely sleeps with a gun under his pillow because he constantly senses that it is only a matter of time before he is assassinated.
A dictator will do ANYTHING to remain in power – even if it means a diminution is status and financial or power-deals with the opposition. The overriding aspect and driving force of the dictator’s existence is POWER and its trappings. Too often, a dictator gives the impression of a messianic complex but in reality, compromise and compliance are often not too deep beneath the surface – if approached correctly. Having said that, they often genuinely do believe that they are on a divine mission. That belief can be so fundamental to the dictator’s makeup that they are willing to sacrifice themselves in order to preserve their legacy for their descendants.
Whenever the West is upset by a dictator – even a benevolent one, they begin to think “regime change ” and “democracy”. The propaganda machine grinds into gear and soon the stock phrases are deployed: “massive violence”, “murdering his own people”, “he’s mad”, “….but he’s a survivor”, “dangerous if cornered”, “talent for dividing his enemies”, “isolated”, “iron rule” .
Currently, the stock phrases are being applied to Gaddafi but if you think back just a few years, you will recall exactly the same phrases being slung at Saddam Hussein, as they will be to Assad of Syria.
Hitler, Stalin, Saddam, Gaddafi, Nasser and many others all used violence in order to retain power – although they didn’t always kill their enemies. For instance, Saddam would force his enemies to watch videos of their wives being raped or their children tortured. It was rumoured that Idi Amin would cut slices of flesh off his victims or their relatives and eat bits in front of them. Terrorism in its purest form.
Often it is most potent when the victim is not killed but instead given such an appalling story to tell that just hearing the stories keeps others in line.
Middle Eastern dictators are currently in the limelight and their opponents are right to be suspicious of promises of reform because in spite of the fact that they may introduce superficial reforms, their inability to trust anyone makes it impossible for the dictator to work with anyone else apart from close friends and family.
Arab dictators sincerely believe in the moral weakness of the West and tend to reinforce that belief with demonstrations of their own piety in order to create a religious bond and empathy with their own people. Their belief in the superiority of Arab Civilisation is absolute. They see themselves as warriors defending not-only their country but their faith against Crusaders. The same Crusaders who used to raid their lands every few hundreds of years but who nowadays arrive not-only with increasing regularity but with bigger and more powerful weapons.
Arab dictators such as Gaddafi know that the “soft” West will try to avoid the killing of civilians – hence the concept of the “human shield”. Tanks and guns are secreted in residential areas in the sure knowledge that NATO will be too squeamish to risk blowing-up “innocent civilians”.
In many ways, fighting a dictator such as Gaddafi is an unequal struggle. He believes that he holds the moral, religious and “terror” aces. The “infidels”, “Americans and their Zionist friends” or just plain NATO are warmongers who are “acting illegally”. He may have a point. Gaddafi’s style of leadership is nothing new. He has been on the throne for 43 years and his current enemies have been perfectly aware of his methods for all of that time. They have known of his involvement in many atrocities – from Lockerbie to the various IRA bombings. Yet, the West tolerated him to such an extent that he became lauded as one who had made such progress that in 1988 he initiated the annual $250,000 Swiss-based Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights. The first recipient was Nelson Mandela.
Less than one year ago, Libya was elected by a majority of its fellow U.N. members to serve on the United Nations’ Human Rights Council.
What he sees is the West siding with a bunch of protesting hooligans and terrorists who have no mandate or alternative to the Gaddafi regime. Protestors who began their campaign as a copycat version of the Tunisian and Egyptian uprisings and who, by the simple expedient of shouting “democracy and freedom of speech” have managed to persuade NATO to bomb what, until a couple of months ago was a friendly nation.
Many have learned that all they have to shout is “Democracy” and the Americans will come running with the rest of those spoiling for a fight trailing behind them.
Gaddafi knows that when the clarion call “DEMOCRACY!” is shouted loud enough, it distorts during its journey through the ether and take on an altogether different sound:
What is it about monarchical and family rule that makes it all the rage these days? Single-party regimes seem as common as democracies but their development into family businesses is a new development – or is it? What has kept these families in power?
The simple answer is geography, massive Western subsidies but mostly – OIL.
Since the discovery of huge volumes of oil in the last 80 years-or-so, formerly impoverished states had the cash to develop huge bureaucracies which were essentially on the ruling family’s payroll. Add to that their armed forces and you have an apparently immovable edifice.
Political parties and unions were superfluous because brand new welfare systems and employment created a hitherto unexperienced sense of national pride and well-being. Tribal rivalries were forgotten and in general terms, citizens rubbed along quite nicely.
Initially, the monarchs took on the mantle of modernisers but they also purposely slowed the process down because in reality, they did not particularly want to spend the money. It was all done on a promise which, for a very long time kept the masses under control. That meant that the rulers did not even have to consider involving the people in governance. Whenever dissent reared its ugly head, promises of political modernisation would be made – but eventually, both the monarchs and their imitators – the commoner dictator-rulers, overplayed their hand. The people began to call their bluffs.
The Monarchs did not claim their kingships by divine right – as is the custom in Western monarchies. Very few gave themselves the title “King” – Jordan, Morocco and Saudi being the exceptions. The rest used titles which resonated with the locals. They were Sheikhs, Amirs and Imams. Their behaviour, however was strictly that of Kings.
The Kings of Jordan and Morocco claimed direct descendancy of the prophet Muhammad but the others would create their own mystique by a combining claims of noble lineage and (sometimes) mythical, often miltary deeds.
Succession was by primogeniture. This is a model which has since been adopted by what you might call non-Royal ruler-kings such as Muammar Gaddafi.
In spite of his military posturing, in his mind, Gaddafi sees himself as King of Libya with his firstborn as natural successor.
Having said that, other Middle Eastern rulers , for example Saudi Arabia have evolved their laws of succession so that it is not always the first-born who will rule but the ruler’s first “capable” male relative. On that basis, perhaps Gaddafi sees his high-profile son Said as the Crown Prince.
Most Middle Eastern and African “Crown Princes” are British-trained or educated.
Traditionally, sons and cousins whose destiny is to rule are given high-ranking military posts or very senior posts in the country’s bureaucracy. They are also funded in order to create their own fortunes.
Wealth-distribution is carefully controlled. Traditionally, the ever-expanding oil income is primarily distributed within the royal family. The powerful and potentially troublesome merchant classes are given more-or-less a free rein to create as much wealth for themselves as they can. In return, they do not become involved in national politics. They are kept sweet.
The only constant cloud on the ruler’s horizon is the relationship with the military. There are two models which have been adopted to prevent military dissent.
The first is to have a small army which is populated by a large number of foreign mercenaries , in other words, those who do not have the faintest interest in the country’s internal politics. This type of army is always commanded by a relative of the King.
The other method relies wholly on the King’s image and personality – whether he be Royal or aspirational commoner. Quite simply, the ruler is Commander-in-Chief of the military. He is constantly visible and more often than not, dressed as a soldier. Gaddafi was a prime example.
Psychologically, a soldier finds it easier to pledge himself to an individual rather than to an abstract concept such as a republic. It has to be personal. Even in the United Kingdom, soldiers pledge allegiance to the Monarch. The Monarch always holds a military rank and the various high-visibility parades, processions and pageants etc always enjoy the Monarch’s patronage and participation – purely to maintain that bond between soldier and ruler. Soldiers fight – not for their country but for their King.
In preparation for his reign, the Crown Prince will always become an army officer.
Another aspect of a ruler’s legitimacy is delivered by a close tie with the State’s main religion. This bond is reinforced by the royal family’s control of religion through funding and the appointment of clerics and church leaders. This aspect is particularly important in the Arab states.
So , the ruler and his family control the military, the religion, all of the important Departments of State as well as the legal system. Often, they are the legal system.
That means that when this type of government collapses, the work needed to rebuild has to be from the bottom-up. If the ruler is deposed, so is the bureaucracy , together with the legal and religious structures. It is a total collapse. The delivery of a few truck-loads of ballot boxes coupled with vague promises of the Nirvana of democracy are never enough.
The gap between an Arab-style Kingdom and a Democracy is vast. Here in the UK, we have a Kindom married to a democracy but this quite unnatural mutation has taken hundreds of years to achieve “Steady State”.
Libya used to be a legitimate Kingdom but troubles began for King Idris soon after the discovery of oil in the 1950s. One of the King’s dissident relatives killed a senior adviser so in retribution, the King “downsized”. He limited the succession and deprived many of his relatives of Royal titles. He also became “lazy” and very quickly became less and less apparent to his subjects by not participating in parades and other public performances which are needed to reinforce a king’s legitimacy.
A Monarch has to show himself to his subjects at appropriate times.
The gradual disassociation from the masses was a great error – an error which would be repeated in the 21st century by the man who deposed him in 1969 – Captain Muammar Gaddafi.
Libyan King Idris failed to exercise control over his relatives who were engaging in the absolute rulers’ offspring favourite dual sports of corruption and unacceptable behaviour. Another error which was to be repeated by Gaddafi.
In the 1960s, both Americans and British had military bases in Libya. Consequently, King Idris was perceived as the West’s puppet. His ties to the West were not approved-of by either his subjects or the military.
Idris paid the price for his lack of control over the military , his relatives’ excesses and his closeness to the Americans and British. In 1969, he was deposed in a Gaddafi-led coup.
Over the last ten years, Colonel Gaddafi has made almost exactly the same mistakes. He has become more and remote from his subjects but as a soldier, has largely managed to retain the trust and allegiance of the military – apart from a few over-ambitious senior officers.
Gaddafi’s sons have been trained to continue the Gaddafi dynasty and that , in essence, is what Muammar Gaddafi is fighting for. His kids’ inheritance.
While Gaddafi was practicing Machtpolitik, blowing up planes, selling explosives to the IRA and all the other terrorist atrocities which have been laid at his door, he was perceived by his people as an independent strong leader. His threats to the West allowed him to maintain the myth of the warrior-leader. It was his perceived fearlessness and independence which carried the most currency and kept him in power.
Today he faces a sad but inevitable closing of the family business.
Like any out-of-touch ruler, he is genuinely surprised and disbelieving of the fact that his subjects are revolting. He is probably offended as well.
His dalliances with Western leaders and apparent mellowing into a Kafkaesque effigy of a world statesman have weakened his grip on the Libyan people.
As NATO-sponsored jets strafe his kingdom, Gaddafi will have one big regret – that he did not pay enough attention to his own country’s recent history.
THIS IS DIRECT FROM ASSOCIATED PRESS:
The Pentagon is about to pull its attack planes out of the international air campaign in Libya, hoping Nato partners can take up the slack.
The announcement drew incredulous reactions from some in Congress who wondered aloud why the Obama administration would bow out of a key element of the strategy for protecting Libyan civilians and crippling Muammar Gaddafi’s army.
“Odd, troubling and unnerving” were among critical comments by senators pressing for an explanation of the announcement by Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs chairman Admiral Mike Mullen that American combat missions will end on Saturday. “Your timing is exquisite,” Republican Senator John McCain said sarcastically, alluding to Gaddafi’s military advances this week.
Mr Gates and Adm Mullen, in appearances before the House of Representatives and Senate armed services committees, also forcefully argued against putting the US in the role of arming or training Libyan rebel forces, while suggesting it might be a job for Arab or other countries.
The White House has said repeatedly that it has not ruled out arming the rebels, forced to retreat this week under a renewed eastern offensive by Gaddafi’s better-armed and better-trained ground troops.
“My view would be, if there is going to be that kind of assistance to the opposition, there are plenty of sources for it other than the United States,” Mr Gates said.
Adm Mullen and Mr Gates stressed that even though powerful combat aircraft like the side-firing AC-130 gunship and the A-10 Thunderbolt, used for close air support of friendly ground forces, will stop flying after Saturday, they will be on standby.
Adm Mullen said this means that if the rebels’ situation becomes “dire enough”, Nato’s top commander could request help from the US aircraft.
As of Sunday, France, Britain and other Nato countries will handle the task of conducting air strikes on Libyan military targets, Adm Mullen said. The remaining US role will be support missions such as aerial refuelling, search and rescue, and aerial reconnaissance.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham suggested the pullback might jeopardise congressional support for the Libya mission.
Copyright © 2011 The Press Association. All rights reserved.
It has just been announced that a NATO plane which was attacking a munitions convoy has killed seven civilians and injured 25. The seven dead were aged between 12 and 20.
The raid which was in Eastern Libya in the village of Zawia el Argobe hit a truck carrying ammunition. The explosion destroyed two houses.
Perhaps it’s time for NATO and its politicians to stop talking about the needless slaughter of Libyan people.
WOULD YOU BUY A GUN FROM THIS LADY?
There appears to be a debate as to whether or not UN Resolution 1973 gives the Coalition/NATO etc., currently bombing Libya, the permission to supply arms to Libyan rebels.
The simple answer is “No”.
Below is paragraph 13 from the currently-in-force UN resolution 1973. This paragraph refers to UN Resolution 1970 (which is also still in force).
13. Decides that paragraph 11 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall be replaced by the following paragraph : “Calls upon all Member States, in particular States of the region, acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo established by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1970 (2011), to inspect in their territory, including seaports and airports, and on the high seas, vessels and aircraft bound to or from the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, if the State concerned has information that provides reasonable grounds to believe that the cargo contains items the supply, sale, transfer or export of which is prohibited by paragraphs 9 or 10 of resolution 1970 (2011) as modified by this resolution, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel, calls upon all flag States of such vessels and aircraft to cooperate with such inspections and authorises Member States to use all measures commensurate to the specific circumstances to carry out such inspections”
Please click on the link below. UN Resolution 1970 will open in a separate window. Paragraph 9 is on Page 3.
This is Paragraph 9 of Resolution 1970:
9. Decides that all Member States shall immediately take the necessary measures to prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale or transfer to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, from or through their territories or by their nationals, or using their flag vessels or aircraft, of arms and related materiel of all types, including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and spare parts for the aforementioned, and technical assistance, training, financial or other assistance, related to military activities or the provision, maintenance or use of any arms and related materiel, including the provision of armed mercenary personnel whether or not originating in their territories, and decides further that this measure shall not apply to:
(a) Supplies of non-lethal military equipment intended solely for humanitarian or protective use, and related technical assistance or training, as approved in advance by the Committee established pursuant to paragraph 24 below
(b) Protective clothing, including flak jackets and military helmets, temporarily exported to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya by United Nations personnel, representatives of the media and humanitarian and development works and associated personnel, for their personal use only; or
(c) Other sales or supply of arms and related materiel, or provision of assistance or personnel, as approved in advance by the Committee
There is NO ambiguity in the above Section 9.
If UN Resolution 1973 needs to be “interpreted” or if there is any ambiguity, there should be a new resolution. If the USA, United Kingdom and France wish to donate or sell arms to Libyan civilians, they should seek explicit permission .
There have been well-known instances of UN resolutions being “interpreted” by politicians.
The last time this happened, hundreds of thousands of civilians perished in Iraq.
Meanwhile,whether Obama, Cameron and the rest like it or not, Libya continues to be the subject of an arms embargo.
Henry Bellingham, (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Africa and the United Nations), Foreign and Commonwealth Office, made a statement last week about the expenses incurred by the taxpayer as a result of Pope Ratzinger’s visit to the United Kingdom.
This was just a four-day visit and was promulgated as not-only as a visit by a religious leader but because the Vatican styles itself as a sovereign state, the holy junket doubled as a State Visit. That meant the men in frocks not-only delivered a bit of spiritual sustenance to the clamouring flock but broke bread in the company of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
For hundreds of years, Popes have lived in the gilded Renaissance splendour of the Apostolic Palace. They don’t immerse themselves in the daily travails of their “subjects” so they become strangers to both earthly humility and the economic limitations known to their flock – until the very end – when they are buried.
Only then does it dawn on the Catholic church that the faithful need to be reminded of the Pope’s humanity. Consequently, he is placed in a simple cedarwood coffin. The coffin of a humble artisan. That modest box which always manages to look so incongruous when it’s the focal point of the memorial service within the breathtaking majesty of St Peter’s Basilica. Much like the incongruity of old men in gold-threaded dresses telling us about a modest and poor Jesus who was sent “to save us” through the bizarre medium of the triple whammy: self-sacrifice, death and resurrection.
By the time our present pope lies in state, he will have completed his last costume change , been eased into his last designer dress , tilted his last handmade pope-chapeau and struck his last vaingloriously holy- heroic stance. The only real reminder of his primped popegotism will be a pair of immaculate red leather papal slippers. The peacockery will truly be over.
Pope Ratz will have lived the life – not of a humble shepherd or carpenter – but that of a full-on Rock Star. That is the spirit in which he met his British groupies (known collectively as CATHOLICS) when he flew in on the Popejet last year.
So what about the numbers for this four-day visit?
The total cost was in excess of £9 million, one third of which was towards media facilities. The cost of the aforementioned munch-out with the Queen was over £66,000 with a low-key supper with the Foreign Secretary coming in at a parsimonious £19,000.
The Taxpayer contributed £1.67 million for the open air beatification mass which honoured Cardinal Newman – after the required miracle had finally been identified.
An American trainee deaconnamed Sullivan who suffered from Stenosis, says that his condition was cured after he offered up a prayer to Cardinal Newman. (Coincidentally, Pope Jean-Paul ll was beatified after a French nun was cured of Parkinson’s disease after she had prayed to him).
The Catholics (and God) truly do look after their own.
The full cost of Cardinal Newman’s Birmingham beatification was well over £4 million but the balance was picked up by the church.
In spite of the Popemobile (transportation costs £34,000) and security, insurance premiums added-up to nearly £147,000. Although police and security costs were provided from existing budgets, the Metropolitan force forked-out £300,000 more than had been budgeted-for.
Airport costs were £60,000 and official baggage cost £34,500 to transport.
The pope’s entourage accumulated hotel, minibar and other accommodation costs of £17,500
The £6.98 million costs of the state elements are being met by the public purse with the Catholic Church asked to reimburse the taxpayer by £6.35million for pastoral events.
Direct costs already met by UK Catholic churches are estimated at around £3.8million.
An estimated 500,000 people attended events during the pope’s four-day visit – but was it all worth it?
As a Public Relations exercise, it was worth a fortune to the Vatican because in spite of Richard Dawkins’ attempt to portray Pope Ratz as a cross-dressing baby-eating monster, the pontiff’s image was boosted.
He left the UK as everyone’s favourite uncle – after having arrived as a paedophile-harbouring Nazi Panto dame.
The Pope and his entourage could never understand the caricature that is the German accent – that is only for those with English as their first language. So, when Ratz addressed the great and good in Westminster Hall -in English – we were all waiting for the inevitable: ” Your Papers pleess!”….but sadly, it never came and even for us godless ones, he came across as a gently-spoken gentle-man.
There is little doubt that much of what the public saw was staged and the work of a good PR team. In other words, it was largely a fiction.
Purely on that basis, the Catholic church showed great consistency as its politics, pronouncements, ambiguities, image and beliefs all have that smoke-and-mirrors quality which – even after such a sumptuously bravura performance – paints Pope Ratz as a puzzle – a compelling but somehow emotionally-sterile enigma.
NEW YORK (Reuters) – An iPhone app aimed at helping Catholics through confession and encouraging lapsed followers back to the faith has been sanctioned by the Catholic Church in the United States.
Confession: A Roman Catholic app, thought to be the first to be approved by a church authority walks Catholics through the sacrament and contains what the company behind the program describes as a “personalized examination of conscience for each user”.
“Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology,” said Patrick Leinen of the three-man company Little iApps, based in South Bend, Indiana.
“Taking to heart Pope Benedict XVI’s message from last years’ World Communications Address, our goal with this project is to offer a digital application that is truly ‘new media at the service of the word.”
Pope Benedict XVI’s World Communications Address on January 24 emphasized the importance of a Christian presence in the digital world.
The firm said the content of the app was developed with the help of Reverend Thomas Weinandy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Reverend Dan Scheidt, pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mishawaka, Indiana.
The app is not designed to replace going to confession but to help Catholics through the act, which generally involves admitting sins to a priest in a confessional booth. Catholics still must go to a priest for absolution.
Little iApps said Bishop Kevin Rhoades, of the Diocese of Fort Wayne in Indiana, officially authorized the app for Catholics to use.
“It has been approved by Bishop Kevin Rhoades,” said Weinandy.
Leinen said the app has already aided one man in returning to the sacrament after 20 years.
“We hope many more will take advantage of this new confession resource,” he added.
The app retails for $1.99.
(Reporting by David Sheppard; Editing by Patricia Reaney)
As usual, please do not read this as you may find it offensive, especially if you are a Catholic Priest or Vatican employee.
Tony Walsh was an Elvis impersonator and was known by some as “The singing priest”. To others he was simply known as “Father Filth”. It is estimated that prior to being locked-up in prison, he had raped over 100 young boys.
His escapades contributed a whole chapter to the Murphy Report on priestly sexual abuse within the Dublin archdiocese. One of his victims was raped on an altar after having been tied up with cords from Walsh’s vestments. When the boy screamed in pain, Walsh turned up an already-playing Elvis record in order to drown-out the noise. The boy, who later at the age of 16 attempted suicide was then told by Walsh that if he breathed a single word of what had just happened to him, he would “burn in hell for all eternity.”
On another occasion, Walsh turned up at a wake and raped the deceased’s grandson in a toilet.
A good example of how highly priests used to be regarded in strong catholic communities is this reaction from one of the victims’ parents after he told them that he had been sexually assaulted by the parish priest. His mother’s reaction was “How can you say that about a man of the cloth, a man of God?” The boys father then administered a good hiding.
Needless to say, the boy remembers nothing but feeling profoundly and totally alone as well as constantly terrified.
Another boy recalled: “I remember lying face-down while Father Walsh lay on top of me, making gyrating movements. I remember thinking: ‘When will all this be over? When can I leave?‘ “
Many victims became drug and alcohol addicts, some ended-up in psychiatric care while others killed themselves.
The pervert priest Walsh was subsequently tried by a Dublin church court and defrocked. He then appealed to the Vatican which reinstated him a year later.
This is what a letter from the Vatican’s Archbishop Luciano Storero, the Vatican’s diplomat to Ireland said at the time :” The Congregation of the Clergy is pursuing a global study of sexual-abuse policies and will establish worldwide child protection policies at the appropriate time. “
He also wrote that allegations and punishments should be handled within the church and that any bishops who attempted to impose punishments outside the confines of canon law would face the highly embarrassing position of having their actions overturned on appeal to Rome.
The 1997 letter stated that Ireland’s bishops should NOT report suspected child-abuse cases to the authorities. This was a rejection of a proposal by Irish bishops to cooperate with the police when the first wave of publicly-disclosed lawsuits by victims first hit the headlines.
Even to this day, the Vatican has not endorsed the three major policy documents published by the Irish church which were designed to protect children from clerical abuse.
So far, the Irish taxpayer has paid approximately £1.5 billion to more than 14,000 abuse claimants. That is approximately the amount “gifted” by the British government to help the Irish government with its current cash-flow problems.
What about the Vatican and its talk of getting to grips with the problem of its rapist priests? Their child protection policies continue to remain in limbo.Effectively, in spite of fine words and various tours by the holy men in dresses, nothing practical has been done.
For what appear to be cosmetic reasons, the Vatican web-site does advise bishops to report priestly sex-crimes to the police. However this “advice” is totally absent from the official document produced by the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith (which was updated as recently as 2010 – just before Pope Ratz’ visit to the UK). The document continues to stress the secrecy of canon law.
Our hero Walsh was eventually tried for only 17 cases of sexual abuse. It seems that he hadn’t even wasted much time after being ordained in 1978. His first “official” victim was an eight-year-old boy who was sexually molested TWO DAYS after Walsh’s ordination.
As the pervert’s career developed, his crimes were well-known to senior figures within the Irish Church but were “overlooked“.
After Walsh was tried and imprisoned, Irish Archbishop Diarmuid Martin delivered the customary catholic blandishments: ” I can only unreservedly apologise to the victims of this man for what they endured and for the way in which the diocese failed them.”
It is highly likely that the Catholic priesthood has an “organisation within the organisation” which is made up of a network of paedophile rings and this is reflected in Chapter 19 of the Murphy report.
Chapter 19 of the Murphy Report was published a month ago because to have published it earlier may have prejudiced the case against Walsh.
The recently published chapter gives details of the links between FIVE of Ireland’s most prolific child abusers although the conclusion is that there “was no direct evidence” of a paedophile ring but that there were “worrying connections” between the five priests.
A ring by any other name………
These are the priests: Tony Walsh, FR Bill Carney, Fr Noel Reynolds, Fr Francis McCarthy and Fr Patrick Maguire.
So what of the Vatican’s role in all this? That’s easy!
When the Vatican suggests that it has instructed its management to report cases of paedophilia to the authorities, it is lying. The protection of paedophile priests from criminal investigation is not only sanctioned by the the Vatican but it is ordered by it.
Here’s what Amnesty International’s Irish Director has said about Storero’s recently revealed 1997 letter: ” The letter is of huge international significance because it shows that the Vatican’s intention is to prevent reporting of abuse to criminal authorities. And if that instruction applied here (Ireland), it applied everywhere.”
So far, the Vatican has claimed that priests are not its employees and has effectively attempted to distance itself from the scandals. This letter now reveals that the Vatican deliberately intervened by putting pressure on Bishops to assist in an outrageous, long-standing Vatican cover-up.
The Vatican’s men now need to stand, hitch up those dresses and be counted.
Two reports into the the Dublin Archdiocese and its institutions were published in 2009 revealed decades of cover-ups and the systematic sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children.
A report into the abuse and cover-ups in the Diocese of Cloyne will be published later this year (2011).
“Father Filth” Walsh, who is currently serving a 12-year prison sentence has recently had his face slashed by a fellow inmate. He needed 12 stitches.
Apart from doing God’s work on Earth, the Vatican is also renowned for self-inflicted scandals – both sexual and financial. This week yet another wave of Vatican fiscal turbulence has hit the headlines. The latest is by no means the first and one suspects, not the last.
In 1974 the Franklin National Bank collapsed and the Vatican lost an estimated $30 million. The bank had been owned by the Sicilian financier Michele Sindona. Bad loans and questionable foreign currency transactions had led to the collapse. Sindona died in prison after drinking cyanide-laced coffee.
Who can forget the 1982 news of Roberto Calvi being found hanged from London’s Blackfriars Bridge? Calvi had been the head of the failed Banco Ambrosiano. The bank collapse (in the days when bank collapses were not such an everyday phenomenon) was as a result of millions in loans that the bank had made to Latin American-based dummy corporations. Calvi had been known as “God’s Banker”because the majority of the Banco Ambrosiano shares were owned by the Vatican.
The apparently ritual hanging of Calvi fired rumours which suggested the involvement of P2, the very powerful and influential “black” Masonic Lodge which, at the time boasted eminent members from the worlds of politics, finance and media. For instance, the current Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was a member. (Imagine an Italian Bilderberg Group or a quasi-government with Vatican connections.)
There was talk of Mafia involvement and money-laundering on a massive scale. Needless to say, the Vatican denied any part in the frauds but nevertheless paid $250 million the the collapsed bank’s creditors.
Thirty years later, the Vatican has agreed to establish a financial watchdog – purely as a result of yet more money-laundering allegations. It has vowed to “battle” money-laundering and the financing of terrorism but in spite of this quixotic call to arms, Vatican banking still remains an enigma. The Vatican banking system with its extreme secrecy makes the average Liechtenstein bank look like Wikileaks with Tourettes.
The Vatican is a tax-haven with its own rules and is seemingly above international law. Its currencies are the Euro, scandal and secrecy. Needless to say, that automatically makes it very attractive to dishonourable people who may have things to hide.
The Vatican is now creating a financial watchdog which will be fully functional on 1st April 2011. Everything has been done it in a hurry (by Vatican standards) because the latest scandal has resulted in $31 million of its cash being seized and two of its senior officials being suspended while they and the whole affair are investigated.
The Holy See’s bank is called IOR (Institute for Religious Works) and was primarily created to manage assets earmarked for the pope’s charitable and religious works. The banks has over 40,000 account holders but their names are kept secret.
Pope Ratz is accustomed to scandal and will certainly be aware of the exploitation of banking and the rest of the financial sector by individuals and organisations who prefer to remain outside the law. Consequently, he has written an encyclical calling for “greater morality” in finance.
The recent decree has created the Financial Information Authority which will (theoretically) ensure that the Vatican’s financial (and other) institutions comply with the new regulations. As a result of these changes, the Vatican has indicated that it will share financial information with other states. Hopefully it will be more successful that the Regulatory bodies which have been established elsewhere and whose presence did not deter people such as Madoff in the States, the collapse of Lehman brothers and the subsequent near-collapse of the West’s entire banking system – from which it is yet to recover.
The following activities are now illegal in the Vatican: Human trafficking, training for terrorist acts, providing chemical and bacteriological weapons, selling or buying human organs and pollution. There is no mention of the Vatican’s second-favourite indoor sport (after table-tennis) : buggery. Perhaps that will be mentioned in future edicts.
The legislation will be passed today (31st December 2010) – that was the pledge made by the Holy See a year ago when the Vatican entered into monetary agreement with the European Union.
Meanwhile, in spite of the accelerated activity, the Vatican bank’s chairman Gotti Tedeschi and his deputy remain under investigation. They and the Vatican still maintain that the whole affair has been a “misunderstanding “but nevertheless, Roman courts have twice refused to release the seized $31 million. It would seem that the Vatican’s own secrecty laws are something of a block to this case being deal-with quickly.
Yesterday, the pope’s spokesman Federico Lombardi was aksed about the identity of the bank clients who are possibly implicated in the alleged money-laundering. He replied in typical Vatican nonsensical terms to which we have become accustomed. He said that this was a very “peculiar case” and he continued: “But I maintain that this law creates a situation in which the type of problems that were verified or unsuitable are unthinkable.”
Procrastination is a major Vatican technique in dealing with matters of sexual abuse and it seems that the same modus operandi are applied to their financial adventures. The Vatican Bank’s chairman has said that he is working “to get the Vatican to come into compliance with the norms of the Financial Action Task Force” ( The Financial Action Task Force is a policy-making body which assists countries to formulate anti-money laundering and anti-terror financing legislation).
Hopefully the construction, discussion and subsequent adoption of rules and legislation does not once again, prevent the Vatican from taking positive action. So far, the FATF has not had time to study the Vatican’s submission either in detail or in English!
A statement from FATF reads: “……however on the strength of what has been released I can say it appears to be a significant step towards compliance with the global anti-money laundering standards.”
The whole process will take years because the Vatican must enter into tax information sharing agreements with at least 12 other countries after making a formal commitment to transparency. Only then will it become an OECD White Member.
Surprisingly, the Vatican has so far not had contact with the OECD with since two meetings in early 2010.
One can sense a corner of the already over-burdened Vatican carpet being lifted and the long grass quivering in anticipation.
The Vatican has once again clarified the pope’s controversial views on condoms and HIV. This THIRD clarification by the Holy See says that he had NOT suggested that condom use could be condoned (sic!) as a means of avoiding pregnancy.
The Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith which is the Vatican’s Rottweiler has issued a statement indicating that Pope Ratz’ views have been misrepresented. Therefore, as is customary with most papal edicts, all clarifications and interpretations needed to be clarified and re-interpreted. That is the long-standing tradition within the Catholic church.
All interpretations are available for interpretation until the correct interpretation is achieved but even then, there can be further interpretations.
Even theologians – those who do the interpreting have been confused about Pope Benedict’s recent prognostications. The basic question was: ” Is he breaking with current church teaching?”
Pope Ratz said that condoms weren’t the “real or moral solution to battling HIV and AIDS” although some interpretations were that condoms contribute to the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, it seems that the intention to use condoms (such as by male prostitutes), could be a step towards a more “moral and responsible” human sexuality – whatever that means.
In spite of the pope’s very generous views towards male prostitutes (who appear to be very popular within the Vatican) it has been reaffirmed that the church still considers prostitution “gravely immoral.” (Especially at the ridiculous prices that they charge in Rome).
The inevitable statement : “However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity.”
What the Vatican is trying to say, it seems is that “gravely immoral” prostitutes can score some “heaven points” but only if they have HIV/AIDS and protect their client form catching the disease. No points if they’re uninfected.
Obfuscation and a “smoke and mirrors” approach has always been the Vatican way. “Nuances” are the order of the day. Clean facts are a stranger to the geriatric cross-dressers.
Matters weren’t helped by the fact that the official Italian translation of the original German published in “L’Osservatore” contained two translation errors: It used the word “justified” , implying that the pope was justifying condom usage in some circumstances.
And so the confusion continues.
The translation also used the feminine version of ‘prostitute‘ as opposed to the pope’s original masculine — an important distinction, given that condoms in heterosexual intercourse can be used as contraception.
Unsurprisingly, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, added to the confusion.
He told reporters that he had spoken to Ratz and asked if it mattered whether the prostitute in question was male or female. Apparently the pope had said that it didn’t matter if it was a man, woman or transsexual.
In the new statement, which was printed in full in L’Osservatore, the Vatican didn’t specify whether the prostitute was male or female, referring only to “those involved in prostitution.” However, it stressed that Benedict was not talking about sex between husband and wife or condom use as a form of contraception unless, presumably either the husband or wife was an infected prostitute.
The statement continued “The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought.”
He obviously thinks a lot about prostitutes – although there is an order of nuns within the Vatican which caters to any pope’s “needs”. Every job has its perks.
However, the pope still believes that condom use by male prostitutes could be chosen as a “lesser evil” since prostitution and homosexual sex are still evil and can never be condoned. But the statement implied that the intention of the prostitute to use a condom to prevent disease was less evil than infecting his partner.
It is still not clear whether Ratz’ edicts are “orifice-specific” but one assumes that both vaginal penetration and an old-fashioned butt-f*** were in the pontiff’s thoughts.
No doubt the 23 million HIV-infected and confused Africans have, by now, all breathed a collective sigh of relief. They can screw away with the pope’s blessing – as long as they read the instructions on the packet and don’t wear the condom on another part of their anatomy.
His condom-related comments in the book “Light of the World” have demonstrated a shift in thinking and an ackowledgement that condoms can have a role to play in fighting HIV.
The previous Vatican tools of fidelity in marriage and abstinence are now joined by the humble condom.
So, the moral teaching of the Church remains consistent, unchanged and compassionate in its efforts to promote a genuinely human and humane sexuality.
It seems therefore that if you shag you wife wearing a condom, you will burn in Hell – unless of course, you are lucky enough to be HIV positive – in which case you will you have a sound moral argument sponsored by the pope himself.
Hope that’s cleared that one up.
A safe Christmas
The Vatican Public Relations machine has lifted its skirts a tiptoed into the winter sunshine. Two weeks ago, the PR men caught our attention with Condomgate and last week they issued a statement indicating that the pope would be happy to ride a solar-powered electric Popemobile. All very cosy and light!
Yesterday they decided to have a “go” at rewriting history in the first stage of making Pope Ratz into everyone’s favourite “Onkel”.
It seems that in 1988, Das Pope wanted to find quicker ways to permanently remove priests who had raped children. Suddenly, the official line is that that the then Cardinal Ratzinger’s initiative had been blocked by Church Law and the conservative Church hierarchy which implemented it.
The law to which the Vatican PR men are referring is that which only allows for removal of offending priests when they askto be laicised (defrocked). That law was last modified in 1983 but is soon to be amended so that when a priest is accused of child rape, he can be dealt with reasonably quickly. Apparently, all those years ago, Ratz asked for a “quicker and simpler” procedure rather than what was (and still is) available – a lengthy church trial. There aren’t all that many priest-trials anyway but apparently, the powerful Cardinal Ratzinger was overruled on the grounds that a priest’s ability to defend himself would be compromised.
The documentation which kick-started Ratzinger’s rehabilitation was published last week in L’Osservatore Romano, in an article explaining an upcoming revision of the 1983 Code of Canon’s Law penal section. It seems that the Holy See finally recognises that the Code has too many loopholes to make it a deterrent to priests who have been entered by Satan and encouraged to perpetrate such heinous acts against children and parishioners.
The Vatican “Max Cliffords” are now seeking to portray Benedict as having done more than anyone else at the Vatican to crack down on paedophile priests. However, in 2001, he had requested that all abuse cases should be referred to his former office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which to many observers suggested “containment” and suppression of information rather than any serious attempt to deal with the problem.
For many years, the Cardinal’s office had been hearing from bishops who were rarely allowed to deal with priests without the rigours of Vatican procedure. Fortunately for the Vatican, the majority of bishops preferred inaction and neither various popes or more recently, Cardinal Ratzinger had a single bishop removed from office even after it had been revealed that the bishops had been complicit in many hundreds of cover-ups.
Sexual abuse victims’ representatives say that a single letter does not excuse decades of inaction or Pope Ratz’ continuing inaction in removing guilty bishops.
It is generally agreed that the pope should be judged by his actions and not by that single letter which , in fact, achieved nothing. As the clerical abuse scandal erupted earlier this year, Benedict was mired by accusations that as prefect of the congregation, he repeatedly refused bishops’ requests to have abusers removed. In reality, he has had ample opportunity to unilaterally declare changes but has continually failed to do so. When it suits the Catholic church it is a democracy and can bring all of its substantial bureaucracy to bear upon an issue and guarantee that it takes years or decades for any change to be effected.
At the time, Ratzinger was following laws and rules introduced by his predecessor Pope John Paul II, which largely left punishing such priests in the hands of local bishops, who often decided against conducting church trials because they found them too cumbersome and could lose them Vatican “brownie points”.
John Paul had also made it tougher to leave the priesthood, hoping to stem the tide of thousands of priests who left in the 1970s to marry. That was during the time when heterosexual rather than paedophilic sex was fashionable.
The priests who remained and who abused children were simply moved to other parishes where they would continue their perversions. The consequence in many countries – notably the USA was that victims sued the local parishes. That resulted in many Catholic dioceses being bankrupted.
In a March 1988 letter to Ratzinger, Cardinal Jose Rosalio Castillo who had headed the Vatican Commission which implemented the 1983 code, said that simplifying the procedures “would endanger the fundamental right of defence” of the priest whilst at the same time straying from the church’s legal-based system. That is to say, a priest’s and the church’s rights took precedence over the victims’ rights.
As the Catholic church’s victims have become braver and thus more vocal, the Vatican has been forced to streamline its own system and procedures so that a priest could be removed without the need for a church trial. Pope Ratzinger’s PR men are now making capital of the changes by portraying their man as an “I told you so” hero.
Monsignor Juan Ignacio Arrieta, the No. 2 in the Vatican’s legal department, said that very soon, proposals for revisions of the penal part of Code of Canon’s Law will be sent to Vatican consultants and advisers. So far, the study has taken over two years and there is no time-limit or target for any changes being implemented. Theoretically, it could take years for any modifications to become law.
Meanwhile the VaticanPublic Relations opportunists have begun to rewrite history and possibly the process which will ultimately have Pope Ratz declared a saint. It seems that the pope’s image is far more important than the physical, psychological damage which was and continues to be inflicted on innocent children by the perverts in dog-collars masquerading as messengers from God.
“For all the good that one of these does, you might as well shove it up your ass”
There is much confusion and theological discussion about Pope Ratz’ apparently softening views on contraception and the fact that he has appeared to support the use of condoms by prostitutes. We are missing the whole point. According to Catholic dogma, prostitutes and homosexuals are going to Hell anyway, therefore it doesn’t matter WTF they do. In fact, if the truth be told, anyone who isn’t a good Catholic is going to Hell. That means that most of us are going to meet up outside Satan’s front door.
For instance our Muslim brothers don’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God. They’re hellbound – as are the Jews who don’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah. No doubt they’ll spend an eternity disputing each others’ underworld territorial rights.
Pope Ratz latest edict was a few days ago. In it he said that embryos aren’t just biological material but dynamic, autonomous individuals and therefore we should all show more respect for human life at its earliest stages. On the Pope’s behalf, the Vatican urged bishops around the world to make the the Popes pre-Advent Mass a vigil for “nascent human life.”
The Vatican knows a great deal about respect for “nascent human life” – right up to the time when it starts to wear short trousers.
The coming of Jesus once again took a back seat to arguments and reinterpretations of the Pope’s words on HIV-AIDS and the nonsense about condom-users “edging towards a greater morality because they’re aiming to protect their partners from an HIV infection.”
According to two papally-approved “clarifications” delivered by a Vatican spokesman, Pope Ratz is NOT changing church teaching on artificial contraception. On the contrary, according to the Infallible One, “There is a need to protect human life from the moment of conception”. He said “It’s not an accumulation of biological material, but a new living being, dynamic and marvelously ordered, a new individual of the human species.” He also pointed out that science has showed us how autonomous the embryo is and how it interacts with the mother. The Vatican is selective in which aspects of science it supports – ask any palaeontologist or evolutionist.
Finally, without any hint of irony, Pope Ratz said, “Unfortunately, even after birth the life of children continue to be exposed to abandonment, hunger, misery, sickness, abuse, violence and exploitation.”
You said it, mate.
Pope Ratz pontificating on the subject of correct condom deployment is akin to Josef Fritzl sharing his views on good parenting. Morbidly fascinating but in reality totally valueless. In the good old days, one expected popes, priests and theologians to share views on subjects with which they were familiar. For instance, God. That invisible super-being which created the universe in six days and then rested. That was in 4004 BC.
A mere two thousand years later, the same God impregnated the wife of an understandably pissed-off Middle Eastern carpenter, thus producing an illegitimate son, Jesus who went on to be crucified and who then buggered-off to heaven, not forgetting to tell the faithful that he loved them lots. It is reported that he left behind twelve gay fishermen to “spread the word”. (You couldn’t make this up, could you?)…….
Is the Catholic church so obsessed with contraception because God’s abstract screwing of the Virgin Mary was not supposed to have produced a son and heir? Are there secret scrolls in the Vatican which indicate that God should have used contraception? Did God act irresponsibly and then tried to redeem himself by doing what many modern fathers do? He “snatched” Jesus through the medium of the Ascension (thus assuming sole custody), leaving the distraught (ex) Virgin Mary with absolutely no visitation rights.
The first inevitable question is what the 83 year-old virgin Pope Ratz knows about sex – apart from the self-inflicted kind? The Vatican’s favoured contraception method is the “Vatican shuffle”, otherwise known as coitus interruptus. In theory, quite easy and I am sure that you are aware of the (theoretical) modus operandum. During intercourse (traditionally with an adult of either sex, although the Vatican appears to have other views) the male withdraws at the point of ejaculation so that the ejaculate goes everywhere except where it is supposed to. If you are male and reading this, you will know that it would take the combined force of several substantial teams of fit Shire horses to make to you withdraw at that particular juncture. In fairness this method is still used by many Catholics but unfortunately, it results in abortions and unwanted children on an epidemic level.
The other Vatican-favoured method is abstention. The “do-as-I-do” method. That method does NOT work as the predilections of many bishops, priests and choirmasters testify. However, there is a small technicality which you may already be aware of. Catholic sexual intercourse has to be “open to the transmission of life”. That is to say sex-for-pleasure with a member of the opposite sex is a strict “no-no” BUT the Holy Pontiff’s latest (apparent) edict specifically mentions male prostitutes. There is a reason for this because in the Vatican, man-love is cool.
Earlier this year, the pope’s aide Angelo Balducci was removed from his post because Vatican phone-snoopers discovered that this “Gentleman to his Holiness”was paying another Vatican employee, chorister Ghinedu Thomas Ehiem to procure male prostitutes at anything from 50 to 100 euros per encounter. Most of the male prostitutes were sourced from the Rome-based Pianeta Escort.HIV-Aids within the Vatican would be such an embarrassment to the Holy See so it seems that after the latest Ratz pronouncement, male prostitutes hired by the Vatican will no longer pose a health threat because condoms are OK! (By the way “Gentleman to His Holiness” is an actual job within the Vatican – think Catholic usher-butler. They’re the ones who are pallbearers at Papal funerals and they know things).
Catholics are still confused and many believe that the latest pope-statement indicates a major “sea-change” in Catholic teaching on the subject that the Vatican loves above all others – sexual intercourse.
This what the pope actually said earlier this year to journalist Peter Seewald:
“There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility.”
Further clarification was offered by Cardinal Elio Sgreccia who is the Vatican’s top official on bioethics and sexuality. He said that it was ” imperative to make certain that this is the only way to save a life.”
Then he added “…… that is why the pope dealt with the issue in the realm of exceptionality.”
Surreal and indecipherable Vatican prognostications on all aspects of sex and perversion may be the reason why in our hearts, Pope Benedict XVl will always remain “The Fucking Pope”.
Final thought: The Vatican’s primary revenue stream (plundering the world’s increasingly meagre Catholic collection plates) is in severe decline. Is it possible that the Holy See is considering alternative incomes – for instance corporate sponsorship?
Will we soon witness Formula 1-style “Durex” decals adorning the Popemobile? Even the pope’s white dress and hat will lend themselves to tennis-type mini ads.
Prospective sponsors must be trembling in holy anticipation!
If you are a devout Catholic, please do not read this. It is offensive. However, it is offensive for a reason. There are many of us who have little or no respect for a church so heavily populated by perverts without conscience. Their way of life, their dresses and their views, attract ridicule and I am always very pleased to supply them with as much ridicule and bad taste as they deserve.
If you’ve had an abortion, you will be pleased to hear that your murdered baby will greet you in the afterlife crying “Momma!” If you’re gay and you have HIV/AIDS, it is God’s punishment because you are “intrinsically disordered”. Women who have aborted foetuses and homosexuals who have engaged in any sort of “congress” are sinners.
These are the views of Belgian Archbishop Andre Leonard. Last January he was tasked by Pope Ratz to “energise” Belgium’s Roman Catholics because he thought that in the last 30 years, Belgian Catholics had become “too liberalised”.
Belgium is famous for only three things: Chocolates, Paedophile rings and Hercule Poirot, so an Archbishop who is anti the prosecution of paedophile priests and who thinks that AIDS is a form of justice for homosexuals is the ideal candidate for dragging the Belgian Catholics back into the Dark Ages.
Pope Ratz is known as an an uber-conservative and in the spirit of God having created man in his own image, Ratz is busying himself appointing traditionalist conservatives to his front-line so that Catholics can be shepherded towards a return to traditional values, the literal interpretation of the gospels and the strictest application of Catholic dogma.
Needless to say, there are some Vatican progressives (those whose minds reside in as recently as the 19th century) who feel that such appointments will further erode the church’s image and amplify the issues which have proved to be such a massive public relations disaster to the geriatric Vatican virgins and their flock.
The Archbishop Leonard case has not been helped by his spokesman, Juergen Mettepenningen resigning last week. The whole controversy seems destined to develop into a full-blown public revolt, especially after Mettepenningen referred to Leonard as a “loose cannon who thinks that everyone else is wrong” and that he could “no longer morally defend” his former boss.
In spite of the fact that the Vatican refers to Catholic women who have aborted foetuses as “sinners”, it is the most widely-used contraceptive method within the Catholic church. The figures are staggering. The latest figures show that worldwide, there are 42 million abortions per year. Catholic women account for 31.3% of that number. That means that annually, the Vatican has at least 13 million additional women “sinners”.
In 1990, a law was passed in Belgium which liberalised abortion but still, the Belgians continue to have one of the lowest abortion rates in the world. Nevertheless, the Vatican remains unhappy that these “murders” take place and Archbishop Leonard is its new “voice”.
The Vatican continues to be confused and to confuse. On one hand, the Catholic base is unhappy with Leonard’s prognostications but on the other hand his views dovetail exactly with the church’s teachings.
Also, the Vatican admits it has no tolerance for paedophiles, but rarely subjects paedophile priests to full canonical trials, instead telling them to live out their years in prayer and penance. Leonard definitely supports this view.
Make no mistake, Leonard’s views have not suddenly been formed since his appointment. On the contrary, he was appointed because of his views. The pope knew very well what type of individual he was appointing.
Belgium has ten bishops and two of them have already challenged Leonard. Yves Leterme, the Belgian Prime Minister has also condemned the newly-appointed archbishop.
You may recall that several weeks after Leonard’s appointment, Roger Vengheluwe, the then Archbishop of Bruges retired. He then admitted that, for many years, he had been molesting his own nephew. Consequently, the police raided Leonard’s office in the hope of finding evidence – on the assumption that Leonard would have known about Vangheluwe’s misdemeanours. Several months later, Leonard demonstrated his total lack of public relations knowledge by stating on Belgian television:
“If they are no longer priests, have no more (church) responsibilities, I doubt that taking some kind of vengeance … is a humane solution. Do they really want a priest, aged 85, to be put in stocks and publicly humiliated? I think most victims don’t want that.”
That statement supported the Vatican’s imagined view that there is “occupational dispensation” for priests who have buggered children. Paedophilia should be punished by law – except if you are lucky enough to be a priest and you “repent” and/or retire. Then you enjoy the full protection of the Holy See because the Vatican’s Men in Dresses believe that a third party would have been responsible for your sins. Satan himself – but that’s another debate.
Archbishop Leonard clearly demonstrates that no amount of good Catholic education can override limpet-like dogma.
He holds a philosophy degree from the Leuven Catholic University and completed theological studies at the Jesuit-run Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He was also a member of the International Theological Commission, which then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger headed as prefect of the Vatican’s orthodoxy office.
Leonard took over from Cardinal Godfried Danneels. Danneels had opposed key Vatican edicts such as a ban on condoms in AIDS prevention. During his tenure, Belgium legalised euthanasia and same-sex marriages. Those are two primary Vatican obsessions and because Danneels had demonstrated progressive credentials by not actively trying to slow down the pace of change, he had to go. Hence Leonard’s appointment
Vatican officials now acknowledge concern about the simmering Belgian state of affairs but have refrained from direct comment saying they don’t want to inflame “an already tense situation”.
Gabriel Ringlet, a former deputy dean of the Universite Catholique de Louvain, wants Leonard to resign — a highly unlikely prospect and one that would be unprecedented in Belgium.
It seems that in the current atmosphere, a bishop cannot be too conservative. Pope Ratz does not appear to be worried about the decline of Catholicism in the West because he feels that once the liberals have gone, the Catholic church will be able to return to basics.
As the winds of change blow through the Roman Catholic church, it seems that this pope is “not for turning” – in spite of the fact that the winds are blowing the church backwards into an age that for the rest of us, disappeared several hundred years ago.
The two also left a dozen stones near the obelisk in St. Peter’s square to mark a symbolic path so other survivors might know they have company in their suffering.
The candlelit protest was the first significant demonstration in the shadow of the Vatican by people who had been raped and molested by priests as children, and organizers said it would be repeated until the Holy See takes decisive action to ensure children are safe.
“Today what began as quiet whispers are whispers no more,”organizer Gary Bergeron told the crowd, which included about 55 deaf Italians from a notorious Catholic institute for the deaf in Verona where dozens of students say they were sodomized by priests.
Organizers had tried to stage the march on Vatican soil but were forced to hold it nearby after the Holy See denied permission. It is standard Vatican practice to ban non-Vatican-sponsored events from St. Peter’s Square.
Sunday’s protest kicked off with the unexpected arrival of the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, who said he had wanted to greet the organizers and had prepared a statement he hoped to read. He beat a hasty retreat to his office after a protester shouted “Shame, shame” in Italian.
Lombardi said later he left when he saw “it wasn’t going to be easy” to meet with the organizers.
Bergeron met with Lombardi later inside his Vatican office and told him that abuse survivors had been “waiting a lifetime to be able to stand up and speak out.”
After the demonstration, Bergeron accompanied several other survivors to speak with Lombardi and tell them their stories. They said they asked Lombardi to pass along their request to speak with other Vatican officials; Lombardi said he listened to their concerns and reasons for gathering.
The event, which aimed to show survivors worldwide that they are not alone, was organized by Bergeron and Bernie McDaid, who were abused by the same Boston priest starting when they were in the sixth grade. The two became some of the most prominent victims to speak out in the United States after the clerical abuse scandal erupted in their native Boston in 2002.
McDaid was the first victim to meet with Pope Benedict XVI when the pontiff visited the United States in 2008.
Bergeron and McDaid organized the rally after the scandal erupted anew on a global scale earlier this year, with revelations of thousands of victims in Europe and beyond, of bishops who covered up for pedophile priests and of Vatican officials who turned a blind eye to the crimes. They are seeking to have the United Nations designate systematic sexual abuse of children as a crime against humanity.
About 100 survivors from a dozen countries — Italy, Britain, the United States, Ireland, the Netherlands and Australia among others — took part in Sunday’s protest, although they seemed outnumbered by journalists and police.
After Bergeron and McDaid spoke, large torches were handed out to the other survivors, many of whom wore T-shirts that read “Enough!” in English, Italian and German. The crowd, some toting signs that read “Hands off children,”approached a line of carabinieri police, who blocked them from marching toward St. Peter’s.
Eventually, Bergeron and another protester were escorted by police as they carried thick candles to the edge of the square. Vatican security guards accompanied them to the foot of the staircase leading to the Apostolic Palace’s bronze entrance doors.
According to Bergeron’s account, the two deposited the sealed letters from survivors addressed to the pope at the foot of the stairs, and after their passports were examined they were accompanied to the obelisk in the middle of the square. There they left a dozen stones in a pile — in the same way hikers leave piles of stones along mountain paths to show others that someone has been there before.
“The journey of a survivor is one step at a time. This is one step,” Bergeron said after he had deposited the letters. “Today was very powerful for many survivors. This is the first time that a group of survivors this large has come together, and people have listened in Italy. In Italy! That’s success to me.”
At a briefing before the march, participants stood up one by one to tell how their lives had been destroyed by the abuse they suffered as children. Many recounted years of drug and alcohol addiction, eating disorders and other psychological and emotional problems.
“For 50 years I thought I was the only person in the entire world that had been abused by a Catholic priest,”said Sue Cox, 63, from Warwickshire, Britain. She clarified herself: “Raped by a Catholic priest, not abused, because what he did was rape me and rape is different.”
“It’s taken 50 years for me to find my voice. But now I’ve found it, I want to continue to speak on behalf of people who maybe aren’t able to speak or have not yet been able to face the fear and the guilt and shame that survivors feel.”
Cox said she was raped in her bedroom when she was 13 by a priest who had been filling in for her parish priest and had been staying at her parents’ home. Her mother discovered what had happened immediately — her nightgown was torn, she was bleeding — but did nothing, and instead told Cox to pray for the priest.
“I felt sacrificial,” she said. “I wanted to die.”
By 15 she was an alcoholic, by 17 she had entered into a violent marriage. By 30 she was clean, and now at 63 is confronting what she calls the final piece of her recovery — “the hardest bit” — speaking out about her abuse.
The pope has admitted the church failed to take sufficient measures to stop the abuse and has apologized to victims during several foreign trips. He has said victims were the church’s top priority, although the Holy See itself has not initiated any wide outreach programs.
Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, said in the statement he had intended to read to the protesters that, while he didn’t share all of their positions, there were points for consensus. He said he hoped the demonstrators could see in the church an ally in the broader fight to end child sexual abuse wherever it occurs.
“Of course, we must continue to do more. And your cry today is an encouragement to do more,” he said. “But a large part of the church is already on the good path. The major part of the crimes belongs to times bygone. Today’s reality and that of tomorrow are more beckoning. Let us help one another to journey together in the right direction,” he said.
The Popejet has finally left this green and pleasant land. As predicted, thanks to a the combination of Pope-propaganda and tens of thousands of infatuated flag wavers, droolers and the intellectually stunted, Pope Ratz has morphed.
Whereas a week ago he was a cross-dressing pantomime villain in a white zuccetto pixie hat and magic red slippers, today he is perceived as the sainted love child of Mother Teresa and Santa Claus.
He arrived in Edinburgh as gatekeeper and guardian to an evil worldwide, out-of-touch misogynistic, inflexibly autocratic paedophile ring and left as everyone’s favourite grandad.
There is a saying “never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups”.On that basis, the Roman Catholic Church has (and has always had) the most powerful congregation in the world. But when push comes to shove, members of any club will close ranks. Last weekend, British Catholics closed ranks around Pope Ratz.
The press were at their obsequious best and seemed to be raiding their Patience Strong Annuals for inspiration. Tough hairy-arsed journos adopted the narrative style of Valentine card poets. They wimped-out.
The crowds lining the streets became “Ecstatic worshipers cheering their hero”. There was “a sea of followers clutching Rosary beads.” The crowd was chanting ” We love you Benedict , we do.” whereas others “wept with emotion.”
Even that hard-nosed “no shit” Scouser and ace Daily Mirror scribe Brian Reade forgot what a great writer he is and offered: “…the pontiff wore a glow brighter than the autumn sun.”. Thankfully, he stopped there because it looked as if we were about to be regaled with “Cream colored ponies and crisp apple strudels……….”
A collective madness seemed to grip our best commentators. A miracle? No – just the Ratz PR machine and the sort of propaganda that Dr Joseph Goebbels would have been proud of.
Here is a short extract which explains the thinking behind the application of any type of propaganda. It shows how our collective perception can be changed when emotion triumphs over reason:
“Propaganda must always address itself to the broad masses of the people. (…) All propaganda must be presented in a popular form and must fix its intellectual level so as not to be above the heads of the least intellectual of those to whom it is directed. (…) The art of propaganda consists precisely in being able to awaken the imagination of the public through an appeal to their feelings, in finding the appropriate psychological form that will arrest the attention and appeal to the hearts of the national masses. The broad masses of the people are not made up of diplomats or professors of public jurisprudence nor simply of persons who are able to form reasoned judgment in given cases, but a vacillating crowd of human children who are constantly wavering between one idea and another. (…) The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning.” (from “Mein Kamp” by A. Hitler)
There isn’t another nation in the world which is ruled by sentiment more than the United Kingdom. We were easy prey.
Remember what the Pope said on Day 1 of his visit? He started quite badly because the most memorable Ratzphrase was “aggressive secularism”. That short phrase suggested that we are a nation of religion-bashers – which we’re not. When questioned about that particular phrase, almost every “interpretation” began with the phrase “What His Holiness meant was……..” That was the beginning of the German Pope’s rehabilitation in the eyes of a sentimentally compassionate nation.
What was overlooked is that conflict has never been caused by aggressive secularism. On the contrary, it is religious fundamentalism which divides us – the sort of religious fundamentalism practiced by mad Mullahs and infallible Popes.
The Pope is being hailed for “apologising” to FOUR victims of sex abuse and then publicly acknowledging that the Catholic church does have a paedophilia problem. However, he still will not sanction the release the Vatican’s case papers on the HUNDREDS of the church’s victims who have been abused over the years and whose abusers continue to offer Mass to their god and who remain a constant danger to children.
The Pope promised to rid the Catholic church of paedophiles. While he’s at it, he might as well have a go at getting rid of gravity, rain or Vanessa Feltz.
His final act was to beatify 19th century Cardinal Newman. That was another message – this time to the Church of England’s senior clergy. Newman was an Anglican vicar who converted to Catholicism. The very flaky evidence of a Newman-related miracle which is required to create a saint, suggests that this was even more propaganda. A nod-and-a-wink to the growing number of disaffected Anglican priests.
On the last day it emerged that Pope Ratz enjoyed roast beef and Yorkshire pudding. You may be thinking ” Lumee guvnor…he’s one of us…fancy that!”
(I”m of to play my Popemon game on my new Sony Popestation.)
The Vatican crossed-keys emblem is already casting its wide, bigoted and bloated shadow over the United Kingdom – and that was before Pope Ratz had been lifted onto the Popejet clutching his maximum allowance of Holy Water.
A member of the Vatican’s German High Command has unfortunately been laid low with a sudden attack of unspecified diplomatic illness. Cardinal Walter Kasper’s indisposition is well in keeping with the Vatican’s policy of avoidance over confrontation. All that Herr Kasper is suffering from is a mild case of “foot in mouth”disease. He shouldn’t be afraid to accompany Pope Ratz on his junket – we Brits are a forgiving lot,
So what was Kasper’s sin? In a careless moment, he revealed the true slimy underbelly of the Vatican’s views which, as we Brits knew all along, continues to fester in the concrete theological strait-jacket of the Dark Ages.
Britain today, said Kasper, is “a secular and pluralist country. Sometimes, when you land at Heathrow, you think you have entered a third world country.”
He then went on to make remarks about the Church of England , its married priests, ordained women and the Vatfact that the CoE is in just as much trouble as the Roman Catholic Church in spite of its liberal approach.
Yes, Herr Kasper, we Brits are an increasingly secular society and real democracy, does make us pluralist. It’s no good hankering after the good old days when the Roman Catholic Church was the overwhelming power in the “civilised” world.
Let’s get another thing straight with the Vatican Men in Frocks. Here in the United Kingdom, barely 9% of the population is Roman Catholic – that makes the Catholics a minority Christian Sect. We view the old men from the Vatican as an amusing curiosity from a bygone era – a relic.
What really upset Cardinal Kasper is our British tolerance and sense of fair play. A few weeks ago there was unease which soon developed into whispers. Then there were dark murmurings which finally morphed into a very vocal crescendo of opinion directed at the Vatican and its intensely unfair treatment of those poor young people sexually mutilated by what can only be described as Vatican-sanctioned Institutionalised paedophilia.
It is our collective compassion which forces us to speak-out. Not atheism or pluralism.
Make no mistake, Cardinal Casper was speaking for the Vatican, probably under the mistaken impression that we Brits would somehow cower before the Papal red slipper of Catholic oppression – but the Vatican is so out-of-touch that our collective outrage has genuinely stunned Pope Ratz and his cross-dressing lackeys.
There are three things that we want to hear when Pope Ratz speaks to the assembled great at good in the draughty cave that is Westminster Hall:
1. He should announce ZERO TOLERANCE of clerical paedophilia and other Catholic depravities.
2. Confirm that Homosexuals are NOT evil
3. Agree to turn over to the Police all papers relating-to sexual crimes committed by priests. That’s at both Diocesan and Vatican level.
STOP PRESS: The Popejet has just taken off!! Unusually, I have opened a comments box on this page so that if you wish, you can express your support and love of Pope Ratz.
“Look on the bright side. Jesus loves you.”
It is estimated that the number of Roman Catholics in the United Kingdom is near 6 million – about 9% of the population. That number has been greatly boosted by various Polish migrations during the last 100 years-or-so.
Catholic Polish immigrants first arrived in the UK during the 19th Century – after the partition of Poland.
250,000 more Poles were allowed to settle here after the end of the Second World War.
It is estimated that in the last few years, since Poland’s membership of the European Union, up to a million more souls have arrived from Poland and settled here.
Without the latest inflow of Polish Catholics, the number of British Catholics would be of the order of 7% of the population.
Compare that with 45% of us not admitting to any religion, 20.9% Church of England and 17.7% other Christians.
Contrary to popular rumour, only 2.7% of the population is Muslim.
Most denominations have been pretty stable but in the last 20 years, the Catholic congregation has halved and currently, depending on the “in-out” nature of Polish immigration to the United Kingdom, the overall number of Catholics is going up and down like a seminarian’s shorts.
This is NOT a Catholic country and so the £20 million four-day visit of Pope Benedict is shaping up to be not-only a monumental waste of time and resources but a Public Relations disaster.
Education and free-speech are enemies of Catholicism. We have lots of both over here. Perhaps the Holy See should concentrate on countries where the Fear of God is still a weapon and where the uneducated, hungry and desperate NEED the Catholic Church to give them their own brand of hope.
We certainly do not.
The Polish Pope Jean-Paul ll was universally loved and respected from Day1 – even before he’d spoken to the world. Contrast that to the scary Pope Benedict who pontificates and looks like the bastard child of Heinrich Himmler and an albino meerkat.
His image is that of a rodent-like weirdo in a white dress, silly hat and red buckled shoes.
He neither looks nor sounds pleasant which means that whatever his message, the static produced by his poor image is so loud that it just about swamps his words.
Pope Benedict is suffering from Brown Syndrome and it is preventing him from making any real emotional and spiritual contact with his worldwide Roman Catholic flock.
So what is Brown Syndrome? It is a complete dissipation of charm when placed in a public or stressful situation. There are two main symptoms. The first is the adoption of an aggressively autocratic attitude and the physical manifestation is often an inability to smile except by contorting the mouth into a grotesque grin-facsimile.
It has been shown and demonstrated on many occasions that real leadership is not a trick which can be pulled off by anyone. Those who theorise about “leadership” will trot out the usual stuff about a leader having to be a great communicator with an ability to convey a vision etc etc.
What is very often missing – and it is often the difference between a great leader and a wrongly-promoted manager – is charisma or just plain simple charm. It is the only attribute that is impossible to fake.
The goal of any leader is very straightforward: It is the ability to inspire others to follow. Without charisma, it is an impossibility.
A leader needs to have the ability to inspire. In Pope Ratz’ case, it is too late – even his God would be hard-pushed to help him.
There is also a small element of acting involved in the leadership matrix and that is for the leader to always stay (or act) positive – especially in the face of adversity. Acting positive is a comparatively easy trick.
Unfortunately for Brown Syndrome sufferers, adversity and pressure both produce negativity and autocracy in equal doses and they certainly will not act positive when feeling negative. It is not in their repertoire.
If any leader is suffering from Brown Syndrome, no amount of coaching and training will give them charm. They are genetically programmed to be a charisma-free miserable bastard and that is how they remain. There may be moments where the lack of charm is forgotten but when placed under any kind of pressure, they will always revert to type.
Observe Pope Benedict. When he smiles, his eyes do not move. They do not move because he is not really smiling. On the contrary, he looks even more like a meerkat who’s just about to devour a particularly tasty-looking lizard or larva. A “smiling ” Gordon Brown tended to look as if he was on the receiving end of a poorly administered cavity search.
The Pope , like Gordon Brown in his heyday(!) is faking it and because of the telephoto lens and television close-up, we all know.
Because a charmless leader is NOT a persuader, he has to rely on a dictatorial approach. Pope Benedict leads by papal pronouncement. Gordon Brown led by skulking behind the curtains of self-created dogma and intransigence. ” Do what I say….or else!”
Witnessing the emergence of two such similarly ineffective leaders more-or-less simultaneously is a very unusual event. It is the religious and political equivalent of the appearance of Halley’s comet.
Both were (and still are) basically decent men but their very poor image, caused only by their lack of charisma, has ultimately made them figures of fun.
The final nail in Pope Ratz’ coffin will hit us when and if he tries to communicate with us Brits in English.
Countless war films and British actors’ very poor (but funny) attempts at a German accent mean that as soon as he opens his mouth, we will think of Herr Flick and the Madonna with the big boobies or “Ve haff ways of making you talk”
Let’s hope that his personal advisors are more effective than his publicists.
“Bless you all – except all those gaylords who wrote to the Times”
Religious organisations are notoriosly bad at marketing and Pope Ratz’ visit to the United Kingdom is no exception.
There is the usual collection of Ratz tea mugs, T-shirts and Rosaries.
Below is a selection of major missed opportunities which, with the right publicity could have generated MILLIONS!
WARNING: IF YOU ARE RELIGIOUS AND HAVE BEEN ENTERED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT OR ANYTHING ELSE CATHOLIC, PLEASE DO NOT SCROLL DOWN ANY FURTHER. YOU MAY BE WILL BE OFFENDED.
THE SPORTS EQUIPMENT:
THE TOUR T-SHIRT:
THE FAST FOOD:
THE TURIN SHROUD DUVET SET:
THE TV SHOW:
THE COSMETICS RANGE:
FOR THE YOUNG CATHOLIC:
SOMETHING ELSE FOR THE YOUNG CATHOLIC:
THE ORIGINAL “HOLY SHIT!”:
Later this week, many of the faithful will be flocking to Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham and London to bask in the holiness of…… His Holiness and maybe to indulge in a bit of mild Holy-Spirit-induced crowd hysteria. The Pope is coming to town.
The Pope is an elected head of state but the difference between him and other dictators is that he is infallible – and it’s official. He is infallible on all matters of faith or moral teaching because anything that he says on either topic is assumed to have been handed to him by Divine revelation. When the Pontiff pontificates – you had better listen because it’s coming straight at you from Big G himself!
The infallibility of the Pontiff was not formalised until the First Vatican Council of 1870. That might be a surprise to many but we have to remember that Roman Catholicism, in common with all other doctrine-based belief systems is constantly (and ironically) evolving its theology.
There are over 2 billion Christians in the world and about half of these are baptised Roman Catholics. Coincidentally, there are about 1.1 billion individuals who belong to the Secular non-religious Agnostic/Atheist group.
There are as many unbelievers in the world as there are Catholics. Each group represents just over 17% of the world’s population. So the argument ” One billion Catholics can’t be wrong” does not really stack up, especially that as well as over 1 billion non-believers, as there are also 1 billion Muslims and nearly 1 billion Hindus who are in a “not wrong” group of their own.
Having heard all the sex-related scandals that seem to have been plaguing the Vatican over that last few years, we may also be forgiven for thinking that Catholicism is somehow a diminished force and that very soon it will become an irrelevance.
The Pontifical yearbook, “Annuario Pontifico” (think papal Whittaker’s Almanac) states that the that the world population of Catholics increased by nearly 20 million in 2008/09 . In that year, the world’s population also increased (to 6.7 billion) but nevertheless, the percentage of Catholics stayed ahead of the game and their proportion rose from 17.33% to 17.4% of the world’s population.
In that time, the number of Catholic bishops rose to over 5000 and the number of diocesan and religious priests rose to over 410,000. Interestingly though, nearly half (47%) of priests remain in Europe.
The main increases in the Catholic population have been in Africa and Asia but the overall worldwide number of professed woman Catholics continues a sharp decline, having fallen from over 800,000 in 2000, to 740,000 in 2008. In spite of the erosion in women members, the Vatican continues its tradition of misogynistic attitudes and pronouncements. For instance the gravity of the “crime” of ordaining women has been put on a par with clerical paedophilia and both offences are enshrined within the same Vatican statutes.
The most notable declines in women believers were in Europe and America whereas the greatest increases have been in Africa and Asia.
The global number of candidates for the priesthood rose by about 1% in the year 2007/08.
So Pope Ratzinger is running an apparently healthy religion, although financially , the Vatican would have benefited more if the “flock-decrease” had been in Africa and Asia rather than the donation-rich Euro and American states.
The Vatican’s income is primarily derived from donations, the most generous donors being United States Catholics. They contribute nearly $20 million annually to the pope’s coffers but the weak dollar has created a shortfall. This has meant a couple of years of deficit for the hard-working bishops and cardinals.
The Holy See is a major Rome property owner and luckily, its losses from American donations were largely offset by increased profits from their property portfolio. However, there was some criticism when the Vatican not-only raised rents but also threatened to evict many tenants who could not afford their rents.
Christianity tempered by economics.
The Vatican has a great advantage over its Italian property rivals in that it is exempt from paying any property taxes. This very substantial tax exemption is as a result of a deal put into place in 1929 and continues to be very unpopular with the competition.
The total value of the Vatican’s assets is estimated at between £4 billion and £5 billion and its annual profit is usually between £10-15 million.
In spite of the relatively healthy state of the Vatican’s accounts, the British taxpayer will be donating up to £20 million towards the Pope’s 4-day visit to the United Kingdom.
Tickets to the Pope’s United Kingdom appearances are between £20-£25, which is roughly equivalent to a seat at a Premiership football game.
Last year, the Vatican released their latest list of mortal sins which included “Accumulating excessive wealth”.
The Vatican has revised its in-house rules to deal with clerical sex abuse cases , targeting priests who molest the mentally disabled as well as children and doubling the statute of limitations for such crimes.
Abuse victims said the rules are little more than administrative housekeeping since they made few substantive changes to current practice and what is needed are bold new rules to punish bishops who shield paedophiles.
Women’s ordination groups criticised the new rules because they included the attempted ordination of women as a “grave crime” subject to the same set of procedures and punishments as those for sexual abuse.
The Vatican-issued rules, which cover the canonical procedures and penalties for the most serious sacramental and moral crimes, confront one of the worst scandals in recent history: The revelation of hundreds of new cases of priests who raped and sodomized children, bishops who covered up for them and Vatican officials who stood by passively for decades.
In 2003, the Vatican streamlined its 2001 procedures for disciplining abusive priests, allowing them to be defrocked without a lengthy canonical trial if the evidence against them was overwhelming. The new rules codify those procedures into church law.
“That is a step forward, because the norm of law is binding and is certain,” Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican’s sex crimes prosecutor told reporters .
“It does not solve all the problems,”Scicluna said. “It is a very important instrument, but it is the way you use the instrument that is going to have the real effect.”
While the bulk of the document codifies existing practice, some new elements were introduced: priests who possess or distribute child pornography and those who sexually abuse developmentally disabled adults will be subject to the same procedures and punishments as priests who molest minors. (One little publicised aspect of priestly depravity is the sexual abuse of the mentally ill).
The new rules extend the statute of limitations for handling of priestly abuse cases from 10 years to 20 years after the victim’s 18th birthday. The statute of limitations can be extended beyond that on a case-by-case basis. Such extensions have been routine for years but now the waivers are codified.
That simply means that if a victim did not report abuse within 10 years of the event, they forfeited their rights. That time limit has now been extended to 20 years. There are those who say that there should be NO statute of limitations in these cases.
“The first thing the church should be doing is reporting crimes to civil authorities,” said Andrew Madden, a former Dublin altar boy who filed the first public abuse lawsuit against the church in Ireland in 1995.
“That’s far, far more important than deciding whether a criminal priest should be defrocked or not,” he added. “The church’s internal rules are no more important than the rules of your local golf club.”
Scicluna defended the absence of any mention of the need to report abuse to police, saying all Christians were required to obey civil laws that would already demand sex crimes be reported.
The Vatican noted that bishops were reminded of this duty in a set of informal guidelines issued earlier this year and that its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which handles sex crime allegations, was working with bishops’ conferences around the world to develop more “rigorous, coherent and effective” guidelines.
“If civil law requires that you report, you must obey civil law,”Scicluna said. He added “It’s not for canonical legislation to get itself involved with civil law.”
Victims’ groups and others have accused the church’s internal justice system of failing to deal credibly with abuse allegations, allowing bishops to ignore complaints in order to protect the church and keeping its canonical trials secretive. So secretive that victims believed they couldn’t go to police.
Barbara Dorris, of Survivors’ Network for Those Abused by Priests, said the new guidelines “can be summed up in three words: missing the boat.”
“They deal with one small procedure at the very tail end of the problem: defrocking paedophile priests,” she said. “Hundreds of thousands of kids, however, have been sexually violated (by) many other more damaging and reckless moves by bishops and other church staff.”
“Pope Benedict XVI should have taken the opportunity to threaten bishops who shield abusers and tell bishops to stop lobbying legislatures against extending the statute of limitations on abuse cases, “ said Anne Barrett Doyle of BishopAccountability.org, which compiles data on clerical abuse.
“Of course it’s right that the viewing of child pornography be recognized as a grave crime inside the church,” she said in a statement. “But practically speaking, no child will be safer because a secret church tribunal finds a priest guilty of viewing pornography.”
But Bishop Blase Cupich, head of the U.S. bishops’ child protection committee, said the new instruction brings a clarity to the process that will allow church leaders around the world and Vatican officials to resolve abuse claims more quickly. He said he was encouraged that lay people with expertise in church law can serve on church tribunals for accused priests.
Cupich rejected complaints that the instruction didn’t go far enough. By including offences involving child pornography and victimizing mentally impaired adults, the new document will help dioceses worldwide confront abusers, he said.
“It’ll send a very clear message to the bishops around the world that this is the way it’s going to be done,” Cupich said. “It makes it clear and also provides more resources for the quick adjudication of these cases.”
But with so few real changes, Scicluna said he didn’t expect a flood of cases to come forward as happened in 2003-04 .
The congregation was headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger from 1981 until he was elected pope in 2005. Its procedures call for canonical trials or administrative punishments which can result in a priest being dismissed from the clerical state.
Recent efforts by civic authorities to investigate abuse allegations have again cast a spotlight on the Vatican’s in-house penalties for acts that are criminally prosecutable in most of the world: Just last month, police raided the Brussels archbishop’s residence and seized boxes of documents as part of an investigation into clerical sex abuse amid concerns the Belgian church was protecting paedophiles.
Ordination of women.
The rules list the attempted ordination of a woman as a “grave crime” to be handled according to the same procedures as sex abuse – despite arguments that grouping the two in the same document would imply equating them.
“The idea that women seeking to spread the message of God somehow defiles the Eucharist reveals an antiquated, backward church that still views women as unclean and unholy,”said Erin Saiz Hanna, executive director of the Women’s Ordination Conference which is an organisation that works to ordain women as priests, deacons and bishops.
The hard-line conservative Pope Benedict has said the question of ordaining women – often raised as an antidote to the priest shortage and to bring about more gender equality – is not up for discussion.
The Vatican in 2007 issued a decree saying the attempted ordination of women would result in automatic excommunication for the woman and the priest trying to ordain her. That is repeated in the new document, adding that the priest can also be defrocked – a permanent punishment, whereas an excommunication can be lifted if the person expresses sorrow for what he or she did.
Scicluna defended the inclusion of both sex abuse and ordination of women in the same document as a way of codifying two of the most serious canonical crimes against sacraments and morals that the congregation deals with. Also included are other sacramental crimes, including desecrating the Eucharist and – for the first time – heresy, apostasy and schism.
Clerical abuse is “an egregious violation of moral law,”Scicluna said. “An attempted ordination of a woman is grave, but on another level: It is a wound, it is an attempt against the Catholic faith on the sacrament of (holy) orders. So they are grave, but on different levels.”
However, it still apears that the Vatican views the ordination of women to be as grave a crime as paedophilia. It also reinforces the view that the Catholic church is administered by misoginystic and (theoretically) virgin old men.
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, the dean of Germany’s bishops conference, welcomed the new guidelines as a clear signal stressing that cases of sexual abuse of children and youths have to be thoroughly investigated and punished.
“The injustice of the past is being cleared, and the conclusions for the present and the future are being drawn,” he said in a statement.
Benedict’s native Germany has seen a flood of abuse allegations surface and even his own tenure as archbishop of Munich has come under scrutiny since a paedophile priest in his archdiocese was allowed to resume pastoral work while being treated.
In spite of all the rule and procedural changes, it still seems that the Vatican is unable to acknowledge the fact that it is running an organisation which has been infiltrated by paedophiles. Many of its transgressors are not (as the church believes) priests who have “given-in to temptation”.
These are predatory paedophiles who are masqueradingas priests, that is to say, they are priests in name-only. They have chosen the sanctuary of the Catholic church for two main reasons. The first being a steady stream of potential victims and the second being a deperate organisation which has just about reached the stage when it will recruit anyone who tells them that they want to “serve God”. The real bonus is that because of a rapidly decreasing priestly population, the Catholic church will go to almost any length to protect its employees. They continue to regard damaged children as no more than collateral damage.
For a paedophile or even an average sex maniac, this is truly heaven.
Revised Vatican rules: http://www.vatican.va
Brian: “All right! I am the Messiah!”
Followers: “He is! He is the Messiah!”
Brian: “ Now, fuck off!”
Arthur: “How shall we fuck off, O Lord? …”
In her American radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger, an observant Orthodox Jew, said that according to Leviticus 18:22 homosexuality is an abomination and cannot be condoned under any circumstances.
The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a distinguished US resident :
Dear Dr. Laura:
Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God’s Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination … End of debate.
I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God’s Laws and how to follow them.
1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can’t I own Canadians?
2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?
3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness – Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.
4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord – Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?
5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?
6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don’t agree. Can you settle this? Are there ‘degrees’ of abomination?
7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?
8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?
9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?
10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn’t we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)
I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I’m confident you can help.
Thank you again for reminding us that God’s word is eternal and unchanging.
Your adoring fan,
James M. Kauffman, Ed.D. Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and SpecialEducation University of Virginia.
(It would be a damn shame if we couldn’t own a Canadian )
The Popiscopalian plane will be landing in Scotland on 16th September 2010, so we only have about two months in which to absorb all the generally accepted Catholic mumbo-jumbo, concepts, ceremony and prejudices. So much confusion and so little time.
This will be the very first State visit by any pope. That is why Ratz will be met by the Queen and why the originally estimated cost of £4 million will be nearer to £12 million. The pope is so popular that he will be paraded in the bullet-proof popemobile whilst being protected by an army of police, Special Branch and night-club bouncer types wearing overcoats. The overcoats will be hiding (rather appropriately for a German pope) Heckler & Koch MP5 sub-machine guns and Glock 17 semi-automatic pistols.
After he has met Her Majesty at Holyrood House, he will celebrate an open-air Mass at Bellahouston Park near Glasgow. During the Mass, the will perform the same trick which is performed by thousands of Catholic priests every day. No – not that trick, it is the miracle of Transubstantiation.
“What’s that?” I hear you ask. Quite simple really – it is the section of the Mass where the pope will turn bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ. This is the clever bit: During transubstantiation, although the bread and wine are changed to the flesh and blood of Christ, they ” appear ” to remain unchanged! It’s a comparatively simple trick requiring no special equipment. I’ve tried the trick myself by transubstantiating my Blackberry into a cheese and pickle sandwich. It seemed to work, except that the sandwich tasted of plastic.
The changing of a slice of Warburton’s into JC may seem a bit extreme and some say that they do it as a result of what Matthew reported in the Bible (26:26) While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.”
The transubstantiation concept was not actually part of the Mass until it was adopted by the Lateran Council of 1215.
Ever since, certain Roman Catholic priests have been using Matthew 26:26 as a chat-up line to their own (sometimes very) young disciples. “Take, eat; this is My body. Yes, yes yesssss!”
After the pope has gorged on the flesh and blood of Christ, he will be driven to the airport and another pope-plane will take him to London.
His first scheduled meeting on Friday 17th September will be with some schoolchildren to celebrate Catholic Education. We’re not sure how meeting young kids helps but everyone should have a hobby and children are very popular with priests.
There will then be the inevitable meeting with Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. The meeting will take place at Lambeth palace and no doubt there will be the usual orgy of ring-kissing and dress-envy. The Church of England is viewed by the Vatican as a small breakaway sect which is mostly populated by the English middle classes, whereas the Catholics still specialise in the illiterate and poor of the world.
Perhaps Dr Rowan will give Ratz a few hints on how to attract the right sort of person into the Catholic congregation. After all, we do live in a credit card society, so there is little point in attracting the poor and those whose credit rating prevents them from having the benefit of a credit card with a decent limit. A major line in the Vatican Budget spread sheet is the multi-million rapidly-rising “Compensation” line so the pope will glean all the marketing tips that he can.
Once again the pope will remind the Archbishop that it was a pope who gave Henry Vlll the title od “Defender of the Faith” and that it could always be withdrawn – especially as the Queen’s eldest, the mad Prince Charles was talking about calling himself Defender of the FAITHS (plural) in order to be “inclusive”. The Pope is very aware that including Jews and Muslims and other false faiths would only spell trouble and a possible decrease in revenue.
The faith which the English Royal family is supposed to be defending is, in fact the Roman Catholic faith. The young king Henry Vlll invaded France and defeated the Scottish forces at the Battle of Foldden Field (in which James IV of Scotland was killed). He then wrote a treatise denouncing Martin Luther’s Reformist ideals. The pope was so impressed that he awarded Henry the title “Defender of the Faith”.
Pope Ratz will then be wheeled away to the great stone barn that is Westminster Hall and will address Britain’s great and good. Let’s hope that his lectern isn’t placed under that roof-leak in the middle of the hall. Hopefully, the organisers will decorate the walls of Westminster Hall with tapestries and murals of something inappropriate. Maybe deck the whole place out as a facsimile of the 1938 Nuremberg Reichsparteitag – but that will no doubt depend on whether or not Germany wins the World Cup.
The administrators at Westminster are not known for their subtlety. Who can forget Jacques Chirac cutting his Westminster Hall speech short as he noticed the walls bedecked with dramatic images of France’s greatest military defeats at the hands of the British.
Perhaps the pope’s visit will produce works of art depicting the various beheadings and stabbings of British Cardinals and Archbishops.
The pope’s final duty after addressing both Houses of Parliament will be the celebration of evening prayers at Westminster Abbey.
The pope will not be travelling very far because his first gig on Saturday 18th September will be Mass in Westminster Cathedral followed by an open-air vigil in Hyde Park. That will give the poor people as well as protesters the opportunity to make themselves heard and these will probably be the hours when the pope is at his most vulnerable.
Sunday 19th September is the highlight of his visit and he will be celebrating yet another Mass – this time it will be at Cofton Park near Birmingham The Mass is scheduled to start at 10am and last approximately two hours and be attended by 70,000 or more pilgrims from many countries.
The only item on the Mass agenda is the Beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman who was a 19th century priest who worked among the poor . He died in Oratory House, Rednal (which is very near Cofton Park) on Tuesday 19 August 1890.
After the Mass, Cardinal Newman will be “Blessed” which is just one level below that of a full-blown saint! In order to achieve sainthood, it has to be shown that a genuine miracle occurred as a result of the particular saint’s intercession. Newman was declared Venerable in 1991, he will become Blessed on September 2010 and will be declared Saint at some time in the future.
There are three stages to sainthood: Venerable, Blessed and Canonisation to the rank of Saint are similar to our own system of reward: MBE, OBE and CBE.
There has been a long-standing campaign for the Canonisation of Cardinal Newman and the miracle which is being cited as evidence of his sainthood is Newman’s miraculous healing of Deacon Jack Sullivan from spinal stenosis. Unfortunately, there are many who argue that there was nothing medically inexplicable in Sullivan’s recovery, especially as he had received medical treatment, specifically, a laminectomy.
The Catholic church needs that positive outcome because it is through the medium of a miracle that a saint has ‘literally proved his or her influence with God by persuading the Almighty to perform just one ‘testable’ miracle.’
It’s all very silly and yet another exercise in finding evidence AFTER the verdict – but then again, that is the way the Catholic church has always conducted itself.
So, lots of ceremony, words, man-dresses, incense-burning, gold thread, chanting, pointy hats, general merriment and fun (or what Catholics perceive as fun). But….. there remains a very “Grand elephant dans la salle”.
There is no delicate way to put this but the Number One question whenever there is a gathering of priests is invariably the matter of priests sodomising young boys, rape, assault and mental torture – inflicted over very many years.
The pope has agreed to a private meeting with people who have suffered sexual abuse by Catholic priests and will “fit it in” sometime during his visit.
Let us hope that these sad people who have been buggered and beaten by the Vatican’s employees are still not so Catholic-brainwashed that they believe an “afterthought” meeting with this odious little man is in any way an honour.
The honour is all his.
“Do you want to love God, boy ?”
You may be forgiven for not knowing the name Marcial Maciel but when you hear just a few facts about him, you may make a pretty accurate guess. It is the fact that you will be able to guess this gentleman’s profession that makes it all the sadder.
He was unmarried but had affairs with several women and fathered at least one child. There were reports that he fathered at least six children. He was found guilty of raping underage boys and abused two of his own children. In addition he was a drug addict and accusations of financial irregularities and sexual abuse followed him all his adult life.
Yes, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado was a priest and one of his greatest admirers and supporters was Pope John Paul ll. It wasn’t until 2006 that the present pope sacked Maciel from the priesthood. Maciel died in 2008 after a life of child-rape, homosexual incest, drug addiction, fraud and scandal.
Official reports of his sexual predilections first surfaced in the fifties but as early as 1938, there was a report of the “noise” that he was making with children when as an 18 year-old seminarian, he was teaching them religion in his own home.
Maciel was the grand-nephew of the Mexican saint, Bishop Rafael Guizar Valencia andit is said that the episode of the screaming children contributed to the Bishop’s death because he had been heard shouting at Macielabout his conduct with the children the day before he died.
In 1936, at the age of only 16, Maciel had received a “calling” to form a new religious order and by 1941, he had formed the Legion of Christ. This order developed over the years and eventually its lay companion Regnum Christi was formed.
In 1944, Maciel was finally ordained as a priest and over the next sixty four years, he continued to rape and abuse young pupils and seminarians under the cover of the cover of the Legion of Christ (LoC) which recruited young boys to the priesthood and thus was able to generate a steady flow of victims.
There is little doubt that the Vatican was aware of Maciel’sactivities but their judgement may have been affected by the fact that both the LoC and Regnum Christi made substantial monetary donations to the Vatican as well as gifts to its high-ranking officials.
The sexual abuse cases within the Legion of Christ were generally known and investigated but more often than not, either proof was lacking of accusations were withdrawn.
In 1956, Macielwas accused of drug abuse but after a Vatican investigation, he was found innocent. At the same time, two young seminarians had accused Macielof sexual abuse but later withdrew their allegations because of an oath that they had sworn in which they promised never to speak ill of Father Maciel.
Subsequent accusations were made against him – from the 1970s onwards. He was accused of abusing young children, seminarians and congregation members. Eventually, nine accusers dared to come forward, all of whom had become respected professionals . At the time, the allegations were investigated by the members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Their leader was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.
The allegations of sexual abuse which the future pope investigated took place over at least three decades. The original investigation was closed and wasn’t reopened until 2004 as a result of an increasing number of victims coming forward plus a media campaign. In 2004, Maciel was forced to step down as General Director of the Legion of Christ.
It wasn’t until 2006 that the Vatican published a communiqué which confirmed that Maciel had been instructed to retire to a life of “prayer and penitence”.
Maciel died in 2008 but the Vatican investigation into his and the Legion of Christ’s activities continued.
The Vatican department which was tasked with that investigation was headed by Cardinal Rode who is not-only a friend of the Legion but has received gifts from them. The Legion has also paid for several of his holidays.
However, finally in May 2010, the Vatican denounced Maciel and confirmed that Macielhad surrounded himself with a culture of subservience, obedience and silence and a double-life “devoid of scruples and authentic religious sentiment.”
The story of Maciel may haunt the Vatican for many years to come as it is an example of how the Vatican has consistently ignored evidence of child rape andabuse. Even from beyond the grave, Maciel still has connections within the Vatican’s virginal walls.
Pope Ratz investigated him very half-heartedly and only renounced Maciel after irressistible pressure and overwhelming evidence – but even that was done somewhat ungraciously. Maciel was never excommunicated or in any way censured – he was merely stripped of his priestly duties and told to “go and pray”. That seems terribly lenient – especially as after Maciel’s death, the pope more-or-less said that Maciel had been masquerading as a priest.
The ongoing relationship between Maciel and the Vatican has recently been highlighted by Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, the Archbishop of Vienna. He is probably the most outspoken Catholic priest on the subject of priestly abuse.
He has accused the Vatican’s former Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano of “stonewalling” and causing “massive harm” to victims of several priestly sex abuse scandal – especially during the reign of pope Jean-Paul ll.
For instance, Sodano’s attitude towards sex and the Catholic church was recently examplified when he dimissed reports and accusations of clerical abuse as “petty gossip”.
Sodano used to be pope John Paul ll’s No. 2 and both of them were great fans of the pervert Maciel. Sodano who is still a great centre of influence within the Vatican is accused by Cardinal Schoenborn of purposelly hampering an investigation of the Legionnaires of Christ.
This week, Cardinal Schoenborn is to attenda private audience with the pope – probably for a carpeting.
Pope Jean-Paul’s fascination with Maciel now makes it difficult for Pope Ratz to carry out one of his first promises to the Catholic world after his election. He promised to canonise John-Paul.
The pope has to produce a very finely-balanced judgement. Drug-addicted pervert Maciel was so highly thought of that he accompanied Pope John-paul on his Mexico visits in 1979, 1990 and 1993.
In 1991, Maciel was appointed by the pope to the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, The same year, Maciel was appointed a member of the Interdicasterial Commission for the just Distribution of Clergy. The following year, the pope asked Maciel to attend the General Conference of Latin American Bishops and in 1993 he became a member of the Synod of Bishops on Consecrated Life and their Mission in the Church and the World.There were many other appointments until 1994, when the pope asked Maciel to serve in Rome as Chancellor of the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum.
Pope Jean-Paul ll was almost in awe of Maciel and collaborated and sought his counsel on many occasions.
For 50 years Maciel had been constantly accused of abuse and misappropriation, yet through bribery of many high-ranking Vatican officials, his friendship with Pope Jean-Paul ll and his donations to the Vatican, he was protected. He became untouchable.
There is little doubt that he had cast a Rasputin-like spell over the pope and his sidekick Cardinal Angelo Sodano (who is now Dean of the College of Cardinals).
Pope Ratz really has a conundrum wrapped in an enigma when he decides on whether the former pope is a fit person to be elevated to sainthood.
The evil Maciel is probably sniggering from wherever he is and the sound of his laugh will continue to clatter and reverberate against the Vatican windows for years to come.
Over the years, the Vatican has hoped that the ongoing Maciel affair would finally fizzle-out but this week has seen the emergence of yet another Maciel-related case.
A fresh lawsuit has been filed against the Legionnaires of Christ. The legal action claims that Maciel used the Legion’s funds to support his family and that for many years, Maciel sexually abused a boy from when theboy was aged only seven. The boy would be his travelling companion over the years when Maciel travelled on the church’s and the Vatican’s business. The boy was raped many times.
The boy is named Jose Raul Gonzalez Lara and is the offspring of one of Maciel’s mistresses.
Maciel’s own son.
“Time for your penance”
“Germans have no sense of humour”, “Americans don’t understand irony”, “Italians will shag anything with a pulse”, “English are uptight and constipated”, ” French have an unwarranted superiority complex” .
National stereotyping is often neither pleasant nor accurate but always contains a grain of truth and is always based on something concrete and very often represents a topical view.
Belgians, for instance used to be known as maybe a bit lacking in culture and are still regarded as stupid by the French – in the same way that we in the UK have Irish jokes and Americans have Polak jokes, and the French have Belgian Jokes.
There is a comparatively recent semi-humourous aphorism: “All of Belgium’s famous countrymen are either imaginary or sex-offenders.”
That saying is there for two reasons: Hercules Poirot and Belgian child rapist Marc Dutroux.
Dutroux was known as the Beast of Belgium and is now serving a life sentence for a series of child kidnappings, rapes and murders between 1995-96. The Dutroux story is the most horrific example of child rape and murder in Europe since the war.
He kept his victims locked in a dungeon which he had built in his basement. While Dutrox was in prison for a motoring offence, two eight-year-old girls starved to death in the dungeon. The girls, who had been raped and tortured perished because his wife (who knew the girls were there) could not be bothered to feed them.
The Dutroux case may not have sealed the Belgians’ reputation but for the incompetence of the authorities in catching him.
The Belgian authorities’ mismanagement of the hunt for the rapist and murderer was heroically ineffective. As a stream of young girls were kidnapped and murdered, there were numerous tip-offs to the police that Dutroux was selling girls. However, he remained free and continued his kidnapping spree.
The Judge in charge of the investigation was finally forced to resign in disgrace because of his gross incompetence. His name was Wathelet and he has since been appointed as a judge to the European Court of Justice.
Dutroux was finally captured in 1996 and convicted in 2004. He is currently serving life imprisonment for the kidnap, torture and sexual abuse of six girls – four of whom he murdered. There may have been many more.
The case caused such an outcry in Belgium that the judicial investigation system was changed after a protest by over 300,000 citizens and several high-profile resignations.
Dutroux claimed that he was part of a much larger Belgianpaedophile ring but no further arrests were made. Meanwhile, the Belgian nation hung its head in shame.
Subsequently, Luxembourg magazine THE INVESTIGATOPR wanted to publish a list of 50 Belgian paedophiles but was prevented from doing so by an emergency injunction served by the Belgian authorities. They had persuaded a Belgian court to agree that a decision to publish was an abuse of human rights and that there should have been a presumption of innocence.
Paedophilia is still a particularly sensitive issue in Belgium, following not-only the Dutroux case but a string of other high-profile child abuse cases in recent years.
When Madeleine McCann disappeared, there were several sightings in Belgium and the police were working on a tip-off that a Belgian paedophile ring had ordered the kidnap of Madeleine. It has been reported that someone connected to this group saw Madeleine and took a photograph of her. The purchasers agreed that the girl was suitable and Madeleine was taken.
Dutroux had links in both Gent and Bruges which is where there the several reported sightings of Madeleine McCann occurred. In total, there have been over 100 reported sightings of Madeleine in Belgium.
However, in Beyond the Dutroux Affair, it was described how a cabal of highest level players, including judges, lawyers, top bankers, prime ministers, priests and aristocrats were involved in child abuse networks and because of their networking and power, they found it simple to hamper any investigation.
Deservedly or not, Belgium’s reputation as a paedophilia centre was established.
In April 2010 , the Roman Catholic church reported the resignation of Roger Vangheluwe, the bishop of Bruges. He had admitted sexually abusing a young boy. In a letter read out by Archbishop Mgr. André-Joseph Léonard he said:
“Before I was a bishop and for a certain time afterwards I sexually abused a young boy close to me…………The victim is still scarred mentally.”
He added, “This has marked the victim forever. The wound does not heal. Neither in me nor the victim.”
Vangheluwe , 73, was Belgium’s longest serving bishop. The Vatican accepted his resignation.
Yesterday, the headquarters of the Belgian Catholic Church were raided by the police after more accusations of child priestly sex abuse.
The cleric at the centre of the police investigation is disgraced Bishop Roger Vangheluwe’s close friend, Cardinal Danneels.
The police action is doubtless as a result of Archbishop Mgr. André-Joseph Léonard urging abuse victims to take their cases to the authorities – after they had been persuaded that the authorities would take their complaints seriously.
30 officers sealed-off the former Cardinal’s palace. Embarrassingly for the Belgian authorities, this took place just as a meeting of bishops was taking place in the presence of a Vatican’s Ambassador to Belgium.
Simultaneously, the police raided raided not-only central church offices yesterday but searched the home of Cardinal Danneels, who resigned in January 2010. They took away papers and a computer. In 2005, Cardinal Danneels was mentioned as a possible future pope.
Daneels who was well-known for his very liberal views on paedophilia. He was Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussels and Primate of Belgium from 1979 until 2010. His views and the views of other Belgian bishops are best demonstrated by his tolerance to a catechism textbook entitled Roeach.
Roeach contained a drawing which showed a naked girl saying: “Stroking my pussy makes me feel groovy,” “I like to take my knickers off with friends,” “I want to be in the room when mum and dad have sex.”
The book also shows a naked young boy and girl who are “playing doctor” and the little boy says: “Look, my willy is big.”
The textbook caused outrage and a press debate but it was nevertheless tolerated by the Belgian Catholic church and its liberal bishops.
It would seem that the depravity of the Catholic church is not limited to priests but reaches right into the church’s hierarchy. It could well be that the Vatican’s conspiracy of silence is beginning to make more sense after the gradual unravelling of the Belgian Catholic abuse story.
Hopefully this will be an occasion when obstruction, silence,obfuscation and denial (the Catholic church’s very familiar tools of choice) are not allowed to be deployed and that secular law is finally brought to bear.
It will all be thanks to one man: Brussels’ Archbishop, Andre-Joseph Leonard who has publicly stated that there must be zero-tolerance towards cases of child abuse.
” For what I am about to receive……..”
Next Sunday (June 20th), in St Peter’s Basilica, Pope Ratz will ordain 14 deacons for the Diocese of Rome announced the The Vatican Information Service .
The ordination Mass will begin at 9:30 a.m.
The Vicar General of the Diocese of Rome, Cardinal Agostino Vallini, as well as the auxiliary bishops of the diocese, the superiors of the seminaries, and pastors of the deacons will concelebrate the Mass with the Pope.
Meanwhile, four priests from the Gallipoli area of southern Italy had been suspended by their bishop monsignor Domenico Caliandro following claims of abuse. Another priest from Caravaggio near Cremona was also suspended.
Monsignor Dante Lafranconi, bishop of Cremona, confirmed that the priest had been suspended and asked to attend a “rehabilitation course” and also pointed out no official police complaint had been made.
Perhaps other states which have paedophile problems should contact the Catholic church and ask them to what a paedophile rehabilitation course consists of and whether they have a similar course for gay priests. It would also be interesting for them to say why child rape is not considered to be a crime worthy of police involvement.
The increasing reportage of clerical paedophilia and subsequent priest defrocking must be worrying the Vatican Human Resources department. They really will have to “up” their recruitment. The current average age of a priest is 60.
Earlier this month the Vatican’s chief prosecutor, in dealing with abusing priests, warned that they “faced the fires of Hell for their sins.”
That’s all right then. We’ll leave it to Satan and his crew to dish out the punishment.
Mind you, if all rapists and child defilers are going to be spending an eternity enjoying the fires of Hell perhaps we shouldn’t bother even trying to catch them. We couldn’t ever match that sort of punishment.
Funny though that when a priest is screwing a child, he feels that the experience is worth an eternity of burning in Hell.
Presumably, these priests do believe in Hell and er…. um…. God?
There has been another mealy-mouthed apology from Pope Ratz. Another apology without acceptance of either liability or accountability.
Satan wasn’t mentioned but the Vatican has already indicated that he is implicated. Otherwise, how could the Vatican possibly accept the well-established fact that Catholic priests have been buggering children for several hundred years. It seems that “vulnerable” priests succumbed to Satan while god wasn’t looking.
Below is the latest apology offered and recited by the pope. The apology offered was for the “little ones” with the addendum of a rather ambitious promise that “such abuse will never happen again.” Such extravagant words seem to imply that Satan has been defeated so, in effect none of us need worry.
Pope Ratz has tamed Satan. Job done.
These are the words spoken by Ratz during last Friday’s mass which was attended by about 15,000 priests who were marking the end of the Roman Catholic Year for Priests.
“We, too, insistently beg forgiveness from god and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again…………In admitting men to priestly ministry and in their formation we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey,” pledged 83-year-old man of the world and geriatric virgin, Pope Ratz.
“Accompany priests along their journey”? It always helps if you have someone alongside to hold your cassock – prevents it from becoming too creased.
No-one has yet put-forward any indication how the Catholic church intends to weed-out any paedophiles or rapists during the priest-selection process. Young men who attend a church school, followed by a seminary are unlikely to be assessed accurately before they celebrate their first mass and are then let loose into communities containing all that irresistible soft young flesh.
You never know. There have been occasions when that Satan has shown himself to be a pretty crafty customer and theoretically could put temptation before them.
This is said to be the pope’s most direct apology for the many thousands of cases of clerical abuse. However, surely it would put everyone’s mind at rest if the Vatican told us what the problem is. Is it a poor selection process? Is it the unnatural state of celibacy? Perhaps a predilection to homosexual paedophilia is compulsory?
Whatever the problem is, it is time for the Catholic church to acknowledge it. Otherwise, it will continue to treat the symptom and not the root cause.
Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) have said that they aren’t buying the latest apology.
“We’ve heard apologies over and over again. It’s not a credible apology until you’re willing to do something about it,” said SNAP coordinator Peter Pollard.
SNAP says they want to see more responsibility from the Catholic hierarchy.
“Accountability helps a lot, when someone is accountable it’s a lot easier to forgive,” Pollard said.
Meanwhile a Catholic spokesman has said, “We agree words aren’t enough and that’s why the Catholic church has put in comprehensive programes to make sure abuse doesn’t happen again.”
However, the Vatican has not indicated what those “programmes” are. Furthermore, the Vatican, Pope Ratz and his band of men in dresses and pointy hats need to let us know how many perverts are still celebrating mass every Sunday. Perhaps a register of priests who have offended would be a good start. A sex offenders’ register is good enough for the laity – let’s have one for the priesthood. The United States has Megan’s Law, the United Kingdom has Sarah’s Law, so why not a Benedict’s Law?
Whatever the effect of the Pope’s words, some Catholics are hoping they’ll at least see some action. One would have thought that by now, the pope and the Vatican would have already received some sort of word or guidance from their god. They have to understand that the Catholic hierarchy cannot be allowed to continue to lurch from inquiry to inquiry whilst young children continue to be molested and screwed senseless by institutional depravity supported by management misinformation and intransigence.
The general consensus seems to be that something needs to be done and it needs to be done NOW.
There is little understanding of the word “grooming” when applied to predatory paedophiles. We imagine a gradual increase in emotional pressure on innocent young people and their eventual capitulation to the vile attentions of a pervert. The article below explains one boy’s experience and unease at being singled out for “special attention”.
This is a real-life account by Rand Richards Cooper.
This is a story about a priest I knew, and what he did to me. I was not molested, exactly. But something happened.
The setting is a Catholic grade school I’ll call Saint Crispin’s, in the early 1970s. I was not a Catholic, but my parents, displeased with the public schools, sent me anyway. In the seventh grade at Saint C’s I was an outsider, and not only by religion. I lived in the doctors/lawyers/accountants part of town. My classmates lived in the welders/policemen/coaches part of town. Their houses were smaller, their attitudes tougher. Saint C’s was their place–a dark and antediluvian building that squatted behind the church like a big brick toad. The school grounds, a half-acre of fenced-in blacktop, resembled a prison yard. There was a hole in the fence where, if the teacher on patrol wasn’t watching, you could escape at lunch, then hustle up the block to the pizza place, cram down an Italian sub, and make it back by the bell. This routine wasn’t about the sandwich. It was about the transgression. It was about the escape.
The schoolyard pastime at Saint C’s was a rough game that combined tag and tackle. A lone boy would stand in the center of the yard, facing a line of thirty or fifty on one side. At a shout of “Go!” the line raced to the other side, and the one in the middle tackled someone; the next time the wave crossed, those two tackled two more, and so on, until at last a few fleet, desperate crossers faced a mob of gang-tacklers. The game was knees-on-pavement brutal; vendettas and grudges of every kind were enacted in the scrum. Girls, those merciless arbiters of manliness, stood watching on the sideline. You had to be tough, or at least act tough.
But I couldn’t; I wasn’t. I was secretly sensitive. My memories from this time in my life are full of smothered, shamed bursts of crying. My grades were too good. I had a baby face. The girl I had a crush on was also a good student, and when I walked her home from school, tough boys followed us, murmuring obscenities. There was a boy’s frank cruelty at Saint C’s that I would recognize a few years later in the stories of James Joyce. It was merciless, in a casual, normal kind of way.
The school was staffed mostly by lay teachers, plus a handful of nuns–like the decrepit Sister Catherine Mary, who sat statue-still in the world’s tiniest library, a converted janitor’s closet, and was said to be long dead and mummified. Academically, Saint C’s was not exactly achievement-minded. A blunt anti-intellectualism joined teachers and students alike; I did a term paper on the Attica State Prison uprising, and Mr. Pagano accused me, falsely, of plagiarizing. More hot secret tears. In the classrooms the wall clocks were the antiquated kind whose seconds ticked off the minutes discretely. I remember watching the big hand tremble, as if it might move backward, and feeling a surge of terror until it finally clicked ahead.
Our principal was a priest, Father M (note: I have changed the names and disguised identities). He was young–thirty at most, dark haired, bearded and handsome; he had flair, that rarest of priestly attributes, and was something of a star. In the schoolyard, however, lurid rumors swirled. The idea was that Father M liked boys. He had a summer cottage on the shore, where boys were invited for spaghetti dinners said to end in naked group chases through the woods. Ask Scarlatti about M, someone would say. He and Murray went out to his cottage. Father M chased them through the freaking woods. He was waving his pecker like a wand.
There was a Bacchanalian free-for-all to these narratives–a feast, then a mad romp. You half wanted to be invited. Like the schoolyard game of crossers and catchers, the spaghetti dinner was a rite of passage at Saint C’s; the ultimate manly escape, with Father M playing a kind of mad tackler. The thought that there might be boys among us Father M had actually victimized–such eventualities lay beyond rumor, beyond the thinkable. And who knew what to believe, anyway? People like Ronnie Scarlatti could say anything in the schoolyard. Stories were not acts of truth, but assertions of status.
As for me, Father M had been attentive, taking pains to make me feel welcome in my new school. In the hall he might stop to offer a word and a pat on the shoulder. I welcomed these attentions; they brought celebrity.
One day a messenger came to class with a note and handed it to Sister Helen. “Father M would like to see you in his office,” she said, looking my way.
His office sat in a labyrinthine passage beyond the auditorium. There was some renovation going on, and scaffolding draped with sheets of plastic created a tunnel effect that made it feel more isolated.
“Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble,” he said as I came in. He gestured to a chair. “I like to invite students in now and then to see how they’re getting along.”
Actually, he said when I’d sat down, he wanted to compliment me. My teachers reported I was an outstanding student. “Now, tell me about Mr. Pagano. About your paper.”
“He said I copied it,” I said. “But I didn’t.”
Father M nodded. Teachers at Saint C’s, he explained, weren’t used to high-quality student work. Mr. Pagano had made a bad assumption, a mistake. And what was my opinion about my classes generally? “You can speak frankly,” he said. “I want your opinion.”
Saint C’s was not the kind of school, the kind of education, in which your opinion mattered. But I told him, and we talked for a while. “I appreciate your candor,” he said when I left. “And keep up the good work.”
I left feeling a grateful thrill. Father M had recognized something in me, something praiseworthy, and rewarded it by letting me skip class. Sure, running a school like Saint C’s might require certain strict policies, but there was another, hidden school behind it, one that would be more humane, more enlightened, smarter–if only it were filled with boys like me.
A few days later, a messenger again showed up in English class, and again Sister Helen looked my way. Children don’t understand things in the conscious way adults do. But they do understand things, sometimes less as ideas than as feelings, even physical sensations; and I knew–from a certain tingly anticipation as I made my way back through the labyrinth–that Father M’s calling me down again so soon was risky.
“Nice to see you again,” he said. “How did your test go?” We’d had a quiz in Mr. Pagano’s class.
“Easy,” I said. “I got an A.”
“I don’t doubt it at all.” He gestured to the seat. “I wanted to thank you for coming in the other day, Rand. I value your input. You’re smart, and as a non-Catholic you probably can see things around here that I can’t.”
Running a Catholic school wasn’t easy, he went on. Parents in particular didn’t always react the way you’d like them to. He gave a rueful toss of his hand. “When it comes to the curriculum, they oppose anything innovative. It’s a real pain in my neck, to tell you the truth.”
“Input,” “curriculum,” “innovative”–to have an adult use these words, assuming (correctly) that I knew them, a sensitive twelve-year-old with a secret life as a reader: it was immensely flattering.
“I know what you mean,” I said, and nodded.
Father M leaned forward, tiny crucifix dangling from a silver chain around his neck. “For instance,” he said. “This year I planned a course in Family Life and Human Sexuality. But the parents are fighting me tooth and nail. I’d be interested in how you would handle this in my position. What would you do?”
“I don’t know,” I said.
“Well, let’s imagine you’re the teacher, and today’s topic is–nocturnal emissions. How would you teach that?”
My ears burned. But there it was again, that intellectual flattery.
“That’s easy,” I said. “A nocturnal emission, it’s when you have a dream in the night. You dream about sex, and in your sleep you ejaculate.”
Father M gave a shrug of utter simplicity. “You see?” he said. “If I had a few adults around here like you, my job would be a lot easier.”
From there we went on to other “teachable” topics–masturbation, intercourse. I don’t remember how long the session lasted. What I do remember is how it ended, with Father M sitting back in his chair and smiling. “You’ll have to come out to the shore sometime this summer,” he said. “We have terrific spaghetti dinners. It’s a lot of fun.”
I nodded. A silence followed. And then I asked him: “Do you think you would ever get married someday?”
“Married?” He stroked his beard and looked intently at me. “As priests we can’t do that. We have to be celibate.”
“I know. But do you think you ever would? You know–fall in love with a woman and stop being a priest?”
Father M gave me a look that in retrospect strikes me as utterly knowing. He smiled, and nodded ever so slightly, as if to say, “Touché!”
He had made a move and I had countered, blocked it. Check and checkmate.
“No,” he said, still smiling. “Somehow I don’t think that’s very likely.”
After two years at Saint C’s, my parents decided not to send me on to the Catholic high school. I went to private school, later college and grad school; I left that part of the country, and of my life, behind. I never went back to Saint C’s, and today my time there seems like some Dickensian fantasy: the antique clocks and hissing steam radiators; the rough give-and-take of the schoolyard; my abiding unhappiness. As for Father M, not too many years later he was transferred, out of the area and out of education; years later I heard he was doing hospice work in another part of the state. His career bears all the hallmarks of one derailed by accusations of misfeasance. Until recently, this wasn’t a thing people talked about.
Some months before the current scandals besetting the Catholic Church, I heard from Father M–a letter, out of the blue. “It must be close to thirty years,” he wrote, “since I interviewed the perky young man with the longish blond locks who was seeking admission to Saint C’s.” He had followed my career, he wrote. He himself was working as a fill-in parish priest while waiting to retire. His letter rambled reminiscently, describing his occasional return trips to town–driving by my parents’ old house (“I never pass the place without thoughts of you”), visiting with Sister Helen to chat about favorite students. “I just wanted to let you know that I do think of you,” he finished, “and that I am understandably happy that our school played some small part in your formation.”
The letter startled me, so reckless in betraying an impulse one can only call pedophilic–unable to refrain from stroking the memory of a little boy’s looks. If Father M was this blatant now, I wondered, how must his behavior have looked back then? Why hadn’t someone done something?
Of course, someone obviously did do something, something that resulted in his being shifted out of education and out of the diocese. But why hadn’t anyone gone public? For the church right now, this is the billion-dollar (and climbing) question, a habit of covering up that is being paid for–literally, in legal settlements, and figuratively, too, in lost faith and allegiance. Garry Wills has written recently about the church’s obsession with “preserving the priestly aura.” He blames “an elaborate framework of interconnected pretenses…involved in maintaining teachings from Rome that have lost all credibility.” A mutual hypocrisy, he claims, served both sides. “The laity ignore the ban on contraception. The priests ignore the forbidding of homosexual acts.” Everyone gets his free pass.
It seems farfetched to ascribe the decades of silence about priests like Father M–including the silence of children and parents–to something so elaborate. My own sense is that the silence reflects first and foremost a different era’s deep, instinctive relation both to institutional authority and to sexuality: the instinct for deference in one case, and for avoidance in the other. This wasn’t just a Catholic Church thing. A few years ago my own father, raised Episcopalian, took me to visit the lower-middle-class neighborhood in Philadelphia where he grew up. Near his family’s house was the church they’d attended. The building had a recent addition, identified in engraved gilt letters as The Father Penders Wing. My father stood on the sidewalk, looking at it with the ironic grin he saves for certain facts of life he considers darkly amusing. Penders, he told me, had been notorious in the 1930s and 1940s, when my father was a choirboy. “He got his jollies by talking dirty to us. He’d boast about how he was having his way with someone or other’s wife in the congregation. How he’d ‘given it to her’ right in the sacristy.”
“Did you tell Eunice?” His mother, my grandmother, a person of avid conventional piety and propriety, fond of saying that she lived for the church.
“Actually, I believe at one point I did.” My father couldn’t keep the sick grin off his face. “I can still hear her. ‘Go on with you!’ she said. ‘I don’t want to hear that kind of filth!'”
He took a last look at the church. “Father Penders Wing,” he chortled. I felt the continuity of schoolyard mirth joining his boyhood to mine. That game again. Crossers and catchers. The incorrigible priest as bogeyman.
Was Father M an active pedophile at Saint C’s? I don’t know for certain, but it seems likely. Assuming he was, should he and others like him be held to account? Of course. The church’s task is clear. Make amends, hand over the lists of names, set an institutional course for zero tolerance. Learn transparency–not easy for the church, but doable.
What’s harder, perhaps, is to grasp the complexity of a time we now so clearly see as benighted. Retroactive outrage simplifies, necessarily; the demand for redress squeezes the real, lived ambiguity out of events, leaving only the bare bones of the actionable, and in some cases the criminal. In fact, my encounter in Father M’s office was anything but simple. So much was going on, at so many levels. Yes, Father M was taking advantage; but I was gaining advantages, too. For instance, he had invited me to one of the infamous spaghetti dinners, a fact I couldn’t wait to retail to my peers in the schoolyard: a story to bolster my status; a usable asset.
I knew what he was doing was wrong; I understood, in that inchoate way, just how cleverly he had seduced me. But how can I say this? It felt good to be desired, to be admired and delighted in. Father M wanted me–and that meant there was a me there, one he had seen into, with some insight. As for my body, I wasn’t going to let him touch it. That much I was sure of. Possibly this certainty came from my not being Catholic. Mid-century American Catholicism, Wills points out, cast the priest as “an especially holy figure,” a person of “numinous supernatural power” whose domain was the altar and the confessional, “special places marked off from the ‘profane’ and explicable.” Mystery is power, and to the victim, the priest spoke and acted with an authority “sanctioned by all the accumulated culture of Catholicism.” But I was not of that culture. My parents hadn’t brought me up revering the figure of the priest, and thus, perhaps, my freedom from the sway of symbolism. In any case, I knew that if I got up and walked out of his office, Father M would be powerless to stop me.
I knew I didn’t have to answer his questions about sex, either. But the truth is, I wanted to answer. To a twelve-year-old, breaking a taboo carries a thrilling anticipation of the hidden, brimming, all-but-unimaginable adulthood to come. You become, for a moment, a player. I understood Father M was taking a risk, talking about things that could get him in trouble in the world outside. I knew this, and the knowing gave me weapons: I could parry and dodge, even hit back. Do you think you’d ever get married some day? To a woman? Uttering those words was my first conscious experience of dealing with adults from a position of strength; of having leverage; of wielding power. It was intensely pleasurable. He was victimizing me, but I felt powerful.
As for what transpired in that tiny office hidden in the labyrinth, it’s important to note that it could have been much more–could have extended from talking into showing, and from there into touching, and onward. Sexual victimization exists on a spectrum; and I wonder–in my case–how much farther up the scale it would have to have gone for its primary meaning to me, these decades later, to be one of damage. Would I feel more damaged, more hurt, if Father M had crossed the line into touching? Presumably, yes. Yet short of physical intimidation or force, I suspect the same troubling and confusing dynamic would have been in play–the same gratification and thrill of intimacy; the same sense of advantage given and taken.
This is not at all to support the pedophile Father Paul Shanley’s notorious and grotesque claim that the child is the seducer of the adult. The narrative of sexual victimization casts the child–appropriately–as helpless, terrorized recipient of the pedophile’s advances. And yet as things actually happened, my impressions were, and remain, somewhat less simple. A priest’s transgression brought me through a door into a room where I saw things and understood. Desire. Deception. Power. Strategy. Sin. The insistence of need, and the deeply mixed nature of all personal transactions.
I am understandably happy that our school played some small part in your formation, he had the audacity to write.
The irony of it–the awful, impossible, sad irony.
COPYRIGHT 2002 Gale Group
“Do I look like a pervert?”
It’s good to see that the Catholic clergy is not just a preening whoopsie band of pederasts and that they also employ some heterosexual paedophiles.
Two days ago, the Vatican announced that the pope had accepted the resignation of the Irish-born archbishop Burke who had led the Benin City diocese in Nigeria. Burke is facing accusations that he carried on a 20-year relationship with a woman which began when she was 14.
Officially, Burke has resigned for “his failure to observe his oath of celibacy.” Apparently, the “oath of celibacy” takes precedent over the alleged rape of a 14 year-old girl named Dolores Attwood.
Unfortunately, the local investigator in Nigeria never found evidence that Burke began having sex with the woman when she was 14. Burke said the sexual relationship began only after she turned 21, while he served as a priest in Warri, a city in the oil-rich Niger Delta.
Dolores Atwood said she was standing by her claims the archbishop touched her and kissed her as she lay in a hospital bed in Nigeria when she was 14 and had full penetrative sex with him one month later.
Archbishop Burke has repeated his denial that he did not begin having sex with her until she was 21 (reports vary – some say 18).
Mrs Atwood (41), now living in Canada, said the archbishop did not use a condom when he had sex with her, despite the high rate of HIV in Nigeria. Of course he didn’t – he’s Catholic and the use of a condom is a sin.
A statement said: “Burke has apologized to all those whom he has hurt by his actions and has taken full personal responsibility for what he has done wrong.”
Burke served in Warri for about a decade before heading back to Ireland. In 1996, he returned to Warri and later became bishop, sometimes serving as a negotiator between Nigerian militants who kidnapped foreign oil workers and the oil companies.
Burke became archbishop of Benin City in 2007.
The evidence against the gross naughtiness which has occurred among Irish priests and in Irish Catholic institutions is overwhelming and should already been handed over to the authorities. However, Pope Ratz has appointed nine prelates to investigate child abuse by Irish catholic clergy. It seems though that some of the appointees have themselves been involved in cover-ups and scandals.
The pope has urged the Irish church to support the investigation, saying it could be a chance for “hope and renewal”. However, we can also be sure that an inquiry carried out by nine bishops will take much longer that a straightforward police investigation and imprisonment of the guilty. Perhaps the pope is hoping that be the time the inquiry concludes its business, he’ll be sitting in his heaven next to his maker and his successor will clear up the mess.
Earlier this year, the pope promised an investigation about chronic clerical child abuse in Ireland. Decades of cover-ups and denial by church authorities will not make the job of the nine Vatican virgins either straightforward of enable them to reach any swift conclusions.
Finally, the pope is ridding the church of bishops who have either admitted they molested youngsters or covered up for priests who did.
Child-abuse scandals have caused exceptional trauma in Ireland, a once-devoutly Catholic nation. An Irish government collapsed in 1994 amid arguments over its failure to extradite a paedophile priest to Northern Ireland. Since 2002, a government-organised compensation board has paid out more than 800 million euros to 13,000 people abused in Ireland’s church-run residential institutions for children. Yes 13,000!
The investigation in Ireland will deal with the handling of abuse cases and the provision of assistance to victims. It will begin in four archdioceses, including Dublin, and then be extended to other dioceses, the Vatican said. It will also look at seminaries and religious houses.
The nine investigators will look at the procedures currently in place to prevent abuse and seek ways to improve them. The Vatican should recognise that fact that there are no “procedures”which will ever stop a paedophile from molesting children. There seems little doubt that all you need do if your tastes are in young boys is to join the Catholic church – whether or not you are a Catholic or even whether you believe in God. The Catholic church is a paedo-magnet and an institution which provides not-only the opportunity but does not apply any sanctions if you are caught.
The only price to pay is a few years in a Seminary and when you are qualified, you are also provided with free acommodation. If you’e a paedo, you cannot lose.
The pope invited “all the members of the Irish Catholic community to support this fraternal initiative” and hoped the investigation will be “an occasion of renewed fervor in the Christian life, and that it may deepen their faith and strengthen their hope.” That is the usual bland brand of Vatican statement, whose only practical use is to fertilise a field or two.
The investigators named by Benedict include the archbishops of Westminster , Boston, Toronto and Ottawa. Two nuns have been appointed to investigate religious institutes for women.
Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston will investigate the Dublin archdiocese. O’Malley was brought in to Boston after a priest sex abuse furore erupted there in 2002, prompting Cardinal Bernard Law to resign.
“The Church must be unfailingly vigilant in protecting children and young people,”O’Malley said in a statement posted on the Dublin archdiocese’s website. “It will also be important to respond to the concerns of the Catholic community and the survivors in the manner that will promote the process of healing.”
In keeping with Vatican tradition, nothing wasd said about the guilty priests or the manner of their punishment.
Dublin Archbishop Diarmuid Martin praised O’Malley’s appointment, saying his “experience and personal commitment render him particularly suited” for the task. Martin, who has been trying to root out abusive priests, called the investigation an “important element” in the purification and renewal of the Dublin church, which “addresses the truth of a dark moment in its history.”
Some victims of clerical abuse were not impressed by the pope’s selections, saying that some of the bishops themselves had “troubling” records on confronting abuse.
“We must look outside a largely complicit church hierarchy for real solutions to this devastating ongoing crisis,” said Barbara Dorris, outreach director for the U.S. victims’ group Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests.
“For an apostolic visitation to have any chance of success, the participating bishops cannot be guilty of the same offences they are investigating,”said BishopAccountability.org, which conducts research into the abuse crisis. Given the worldwide extent of priestly child abuse, it is very unlikely that there is a single bishop or archbishop who has not been tainted by scandal. That certainly would add credence to the argument for outside investigators.
The pope apologised for the chronic abuse in his unprecedented letter to Ireland, rebuking church leaders for “grave errors of judgment” and appealing to priests still harboring sins of child molestation to confess.
The pope and the whole band of innocents are missing the whole point. They are harbouring individuals who are paedophiles disguised as priests. The Catholic hierarchy persists in its blind belief that they are dealing with holy men who have strayed. They are dealing with predatory paedophiles who have infiltrated their organisation. No amount of confessing, “regret” , absolution or forgiveness will ever change perverts who are hard-wired to sexually abuse.
Three Irish bishops have stepped down since December and there have been calls for the country’s top prelate, Cardinal Sean Brady to resign because of his handling of a notorious child rapist.
The Vatican has been reluctant to allow priests to leave the church since Pope John Paul made it tougher to leave the priesthood after assuming the papacy in 1978, saying that a priest’s vocation was lifelong. At that time, the church was still recovering from a substantial exodus of heterosexual priests who wished to marry.
A consequence of that policy was that, as the priest sex abuse scandal grew worldwide, bishops were no longer able to sidestep the lengthy church trial necessary for laicisation. Catholic priests were no longer able to simply leave their calling, they had to undergo a “trial” before they were released from their vows to become members of the laity.
New rules in 1980 removed bishops’ option of requesting laicisations of abusive priests without holding a church trial. Those rules were ultimately eased two decades later amid an epidemic of child abuse cases.
At that time, the future Pope Benedict XVI refused to defrock priest who confessed to molesting children and had even served a prison sentence. That was because the convicted cleric would not agree to the discipline.
The case provides the latest evidence of how changes in church law under Pope John Paul II frustrated and hamstrung bishops struggling with an abuse crisis that would eventually explode.
At the time , Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, following contemporary church law , turned down a bishop’s plea to remove the priest for no other reason than the abuser’s refusal to acquiesce.
“The petition in question cannot be admitted in as much as it lacks the request of Father Campbell himself,” Ratzinger wrote in a July 3, 1989.
Campbell’s bishop had requested that he be quickly defrocked, in part to spare the victims the pain of a trial, but Ratzinger’s response was in keeping with church law at the time. Bishops retained the right to remove priests from ministry or to go through with a trial and recommend to Rome a cleric’s defrocking.
The Vatican has since argued that nothing prevented them from reporting such crimes to police as they should have done. By the same token, nothing prevented the Vatican from reporting the crimes – especially as they had been made fully aware of them.
Jeffrey Lena, the Vatican’s U.S lawyer has said “Nothing in the new code prevented a bishop from exercising his discretion to restrict ministry or to assign a priest to a job where he was out of contact with the public.”
This is still a church administered by old men who believe that all their priests are good men with a calling. They STILL do not appear to have fully grasped that they have been infiltrated by paedophiles and perverts who are being administered by hamstrung bishops who are living in constant fear of both worldly and heavenly retribution.
“Mark 10:13-16. THAT’S what I’m talking about!”
Today the Vatican will make its most robust defence yet against claims that it is liable for U.S. bishops who not-only allowed their priests to molest children but were then complicit in hundreds of cover-ups. The Vatican will continue to say that bishops are not its employees and that the 1962 Vatican document “Crimen Sollicitationis” did not require or encourage priests or bishops to remain silent.
The Vatican’s arguments are designed to persuade American Courts to dismiss a federal lawsuit on jurisdictional grounds but it could also affect moves to sue the Holy See.
The Vatican’s U.S. attorney, Jeffrey Lena said yesterday that there is no evidence the 1962 document was even known to the archdiocese in question — much less used — and that it certainly did NOT prevent bishops from reporting priestly buggery and other crimes to the police
Lena also said that the confidentiality imposed by Crimen Sollicitationis did not supersede civil (secular) law and was designed to be applied applied only in formal canonical processes. However, it was also implicit that bishops had the discretion to suspend church law if there was a conflict with criminal law. Lena said: “It is important that people — particularly people who have suffered abuse — know that, contrary to what some plaintiffs’ lawyers have consistently told the media, the canon law did not bar reporting of these crimes to the civil authorities.
The 1962 document describes how church authorities should deal procedurally with cases of
1. Abuse of children by priests.
2. Cases where sex is solicited in the confessional.
3. Cases of homosexuality and bestiality (sexual congress with animals).
Looking at the very short list above only gives a small insight into the depravity of some clergy and how difficult it must be for the Catholic geriatric virgin men of the Vatican to both come to terms with and understand the scale of the issues that they are being asked to deal with. It is very likely that for instance, the concept of a priest shagging a goat or dog is totally outside the mental capabilities of the Catholic men-in-long-dresses Vatican hierarchy. After all, even the highest levels within the Catholic hierarchy have difficulty understanding condoms, so the concept for instance, of a priest wrapping a hamster in gaffer tape and then having sex with it must be a bit “out there”. Their coping mechanisms are probably at breaking point. There are few references to “Pet Shop Boys” in the Bible.
Others see Crimen Sollicitationis as “a smoking gun”. Some say that it is evidence of a ‘written’ policy which demands that no mention of priestly sex abuse be made by a bishop to “outsiders” such as police .
The contra legal case is going to be about nothing less than holding the Vatican accountable for the bishops’ repeated failures to report to civil authorities The Vatican is trying to fend off this first case to reach the stage of determining whether victims actually have a claim against the Vatican itself for negligence. The negligence for the failure of bishops to alert police or the public about Roman Catholic priests who assaulted and molested.
The case was originally filed in 2004 by three men who claim that decades ago,they were abused by priests and they claim negligence by the Vatican. The case is being observed by many thousands of victims across the United States and the Vatican’s fear is that if the case against the Vatican is proved, the floodgates will open and many thousands of other claims will surface worldwide. In effect, the Vatican is attempting to disassociate itself from its administrators and managers (the bishops).
In 2003, 243 sex abuse victims settled with the Archdiocese of Louisville for $25.3 million. The Vatican is now seeking to dismiss the suit before Pope Benedict XVI can be questioned or documents subpoenaed.
The Vatican is expected to assert that bishops aren’t its employees because they aren’t paid by Rome. In addition, it is claimed that they don’t act on Rome’s behalf and aren’t controlled day-to-day by the pope. These are the same parameters which courts use to determine whether employers are liable for the actions of their employees.
The major stumbling block for any court is likely to be the religious nature of the relationship between bishops and their pope as a basis for civil liability because it entangles the court in an analysis of religious doctrine that dates back to the apostles. Many also believe that the relationship between the pope and his army of administrators may be based on a fiction. That, however is another argument which may jeopardise the relationship between church and state.
The lawyers will invoke religious authority to construct a civil employment relationship. That will make it inappropriate for the court to consider religious doctrine but courts tend to avoid constructing civil relationships out of religious materials.
The clear allegation is that the Vatican had clear and direct control over bishops, mandated a policy of secrecy and is therefore liable for the bishops’ failure to report abuse.
Previous rulings may mean that the lawyers do no need to prove that bishops were employees of the Vatican but merely “officials.”
Bishops take an oath of office. The pope appoints, disciplines and removes bishops. If a bishop wants to spend more than £3.5 ($5million) he must ask permission from Rome and if he wants to take a three-month sabbatical, he needs the Holy See’s approval. All these factors point to an employer/employee relationship. In addition, it can be argued that the Catholic church provides its bishops and priests with the tools of their trade, clothing and accommodation.
The Vatican is claiming that Day-to-day monitoring has to be proved in order for it to be shown to be responsible. That should prove to be a fatuous argument. For instance, the chairman of BP is ultimately responsible for the oil spillage off the US coast. He is also responsible for the consequences and Barack Obama has said that BP will be held to account and will have to bear 100% of the cost of any clean-up and subsequent law suits from those who have lost their livelihoods. The Vatican should also stand up and be counted and graciously accept their responsibility for its rogue priests and bishops.
The Vatican’s wriggling doesn’t stop there. They are also invoking the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, which protects sovereign states from being sued in U.S. courts except under certain circumstances. There is also the argument that Crimen Sollicitationis did not appear at diocese level.
All bishops knew about the document, even if they had not read it. The fact that they had not seen it is just another example of the Vatican’s culture of secrecy which has been perpetuated for many centuries and which is the root cause of their present problems. The fact that the document was not publicly known is not any way evidence that it was not a viable piece of ecclesiastical legislation.
Let us hope that the “just” Catholic god continues to play by the book and has abandoned not-only the perverted priests but their incompetent (or scheming) masters.
The paradox is that the Vatican geriatrics and their advisors have no doubt prayed for guidance and so it would seem that their god has told them to contest all legal action. If he is still backing his boys, they must be doing the right thing. Plus, as we are often reminded, the pope is infallible. That could also mean that thousands of degenerate priests will go unpunished.
Is that the Will of God? Or is the the will of frightened old men who have solicited God’s guidance but always with one eye on their bank balance.
|People were bringing little children
to Jesus to have him touch them,
but the disciples rebuked them.
When Jesus saw this,
he was indignant.
He said to them,
“Let the little children come to me,
and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God
belongs to such as these.
I tell you the truth,
anyone who will not receive
the kingdom of God
like a little child
will never enter it.”
And he took the children
in his arms, put his hands on them
and blessed them.
PLEASE DO NOT VIEW THE ABOVE VIDEO IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED, IF YOU ARE CHRISTIAN, ROMAN CATHOLIC OR IF PEOPLE EVER REFER TO YOU AS “YOUR HOLINESS”
There have been at least 100 cases of clerical sex abuse reported in Italy in the past 10 years, a top ranking Italian church official has said.
However, Mariano Crociata, the second-highest ranked official at the Italian bishops’ conference, declined to say how many of the cases resulted in any action against any of the priests who had been investigated. ‘It’s a number that gives you an idea of the situation,’ he said yesterday.
The Catholic Church has been engulfed in a scandal involving sex abuse accusations by paedophile priests in countries including the US, Germany, Austria and Italy.
The Vatican has also been accused of covering up sex abuse charges by not taking action against suspected paedophile priests or turning them over to police.
Crociata said Italian law did not require the Catholic Church to report the suspected priests to police.
Pope Ratz has blamed the Catholic church’s “own sins” for the worldwide outbreak of Ratz Ass and not a campaign mounted by enemies of the church. He has called for “profound purification” (WTF?) and so end what he called the “greatest persecution” that the church has endured. He didn’t mention whether or not he considered the “persecution” as justified.
He is a Pope bending (sic) to the inevitable and this all seems like a too-late dose (sic) of self-preservation by an old man who still has to explain both his and his brother’s involvement in the abuse of a German boys’ choir. Still, let’s not dwell on negatives.
His comments placed responsibility for the pervert-priest crisis squarely on the sins of paedophile priests, repudiating the Vatican’s initial response to the scandal which blamed the media as well as pro-choice and pro-gay marriage advocates for mounting what it called a “campaign against the church and the pope”. Paranoid paedo perverts have never presented a particularly edifying or rational argument and one assumes that the Vatican’s initial response has to be considered as the Pope’s response.
Speaking on the Popejet en route to Portugal, Benedict said the Catholic church had always suffered from problems of its own making but that “today we see it in a truly terrifying way.”
“The greatest persecution of the church doesn’t come from enemies on the outside but is born from the sins within the church,” the pontiff said. “The church needs to profoundly relearn penitence, accept purification, learn forgiveness but also justice.” As usual, he made no direct reference to the shagging or other forms of violation of young boys.
The comments, although bland, marked Ratz’ most thorough admission of the church’s guilt. Previously he has blamed the abusers themselves and in the case of Ireland, the bishops who failed to stop them.
He was responding to journalists’ questions, submitted in advance aboard the Popejet as he flew to Portugal. His four-day visit will take him from Lisbon to the Fatima shrine and then to Porto.
It is not known whether Ratzwould make further remarks about the sex-scandal during the trip, but there have been no reported cases of sex abuse in Portugal, unlike in Malta, where last month, Ratz met abuse victims.
Despite the Vatican’s initial defensive response to hundreds of clerical abuse reports in Europe, Pope Ratz has promised that the church would take action to protect children and make abusive priests face justice. He has already started firing pervs and accepting the resignations of a few bishops who either admitted they molested youngsters or covered up for priests who did.
The real question is how does a church populated by virgin geriatrics and perverts go about “protecting children”. Are the Pope’s statements yet more PR crap or is there a plan?
Critics say that he still hasn’t done nearly enough to repair the damage or protect children from a culture of secrecy that allowed priests to rape and molest children for decades. Some have noted that while Benedict has accepted some bishops’ resignations, no bishop has been punished or defrocked, even those who admitted molesting children. Neither have there been any prosecutions which suggests that the Catholic church still puts church law above secular law.
“Many are tiring of hearing about his ‘strong comments.'” They want to see strong action,”said David Clohessy, director of U.S. victims’ group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Portugal has not experienced the surge in reports of abuse by priests which has emerged in other European countries, including Ratz’ native Germany. Portugal is about to be plunged into a financial crisis at least on the scale of the current Greek meltdown, so its mind is on other things.
Perhaps that is why Portuguese President Anibal Cavaco Silva referred to the financial crisis in his speech greeting Pope Ratz at Lisbon airport. He said that the Pope was “visiting at a time of uncertainty that had tested Portugal’s strength as a community”.
“In these times, men require someone bearing a message of hope to meet their thirst for justice and solidarity,” he told the pontiff.
Church bells rang out as the pontiff proceeded through Lisbon from the airport in his Popemobile. Several thousand people lined the streets on a rainy day, some shouting, “Viva o Papa!” However, some stretches of the route were very thinly attended.
Ratz said the crisis demonstrated the need for greater moral responsibility in running the global financial system and noted that he outlined his vision for more ethics in finance in his 2009 encyclical “Charity in Truth.”
He called for greater dialogue within the financial system about ethical considerations. Obviously, a financial crisis and the opportunity for the head man from the Vatican to comment is very useful but the “elephant in the room” remains the unpunished sexual excesses of the Catholic clergy.
Ratz also called for “greater dialogue between faith and the secular world”.
Portugal is approximately 90 percent Catholic but only 2 million of the country’s 10.6 million people describe themselves as practicing their faith. The rest are probably using their Sunday mornings to sit in a bucket on calamine lotion as they speak to their therapist.
Joking apart, the Vatican and its reps have a lot to deal with in what used to be a totally pro-Vatican Catholic country.
In 2007, the Portuguese government passed a law allowing abortion. In 2008, it introduced a law allowing a judge to grant a divorce even if one spouse opposed. In January, Parliament passed a bill seeking to make the country the sixth in Europe allowing same-sex couples to marry. It seems as if the Vatican’s influence is waning.
In his airport remarks, das Pope sharply criticized Portugal’s abortion law, saying public officials must give “essential consideration” to issues that affect human life. Nothing like an 80-year old Catholic unmarried German virgin giving advice to pregnant women.
“The point at issue is not an ethical confrontation between a secular and religious system, so much as a question about the meaning that we give to our freedom,” he said. Clear as mud, as ever.
Benedict also praised Portugal’s Catholic heritage, saying it was a “great force of faith” in spreading Catholicism around the globe, from Brazil to Africa, during colonial times. Those far-off days must have been Manna from heaven for the missionary priests as they got stuck into virgin territories.
Despite the country’s increasingly secular bent (oops!), religious sentiment runs deep.
At least 500,000 people are expected to attend the Pope’s Mass in Fatima on May 13th. It’s the anniversary of the day in 1917 when three Portuguese shepherd children reported having visions of the Virgin Mary.
Such happenings have always been enough for the Catholic church to stake a claim. Plus the bonus of children!
A match made in Heaven.
Pope Ratz is reported to have broken his silence on the Catholic abuse scandal. Unfortunately, he has not been able to bring himself to utter the phrases “paedophile priests”, “child abuse”,”complicit bishops”, “cover-up” or “sex crimes”. Instead, he has attempted to implicate his entire flock by saying that “we Christians” must repent for our sins and recognise mistakes.
His comments have been dismissed my various victims’ support groups because he still has not said that he intends to take steps to protect children from perverted priests.
This is what he said:
“I must say, we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word ‘repent’, which seemed too tough. But now under attack from the world, which has been telling us about our sins … we realize that it’s necessary to repent, in other words, recognize what is wrong in our lives…… Open ourselves to forgiveness … and let ourselves be transformed. The pain of repentance, which is a purification and transformation, is a grace because it is renewal and the work of divine mercy.”
The Vatican’s centuries-old culture of cover-up and secrecy has given priests a totally free hand to molest and rape children. There is no indication that the Catholic church intends to do anything to stop these outrages. Molesting children still appears to be the Vatican’s main participation sport.
The Vatican persists in showing a total disregard for the issues by encouraging a siege-mentality by referring to facts and admissions as an “attack” on the church. If a rapist is accused of rape, it is NOT an attack – it is an accusation and if the rapist confesses, it can legitimately be filed under “fact”.
If, however, the Vatican was able to say that these many thousands of accusations, confessions and convictions were false, then the furore could conceivably be termed “an attack”.As things stand, the Catholic church’s managers and administrators are in denial and are begig to realise that they have painted themselves into an unholy corner.
“Factual disclosures are not ‘attacks’ and ‘penance’ protects no one…. it’s hard to have faith that he is able to honestly and effectively deal with this growing crisis,” said Mark Serrano, a spokesman for the U.S-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
It is now time for the Pope to show some of the humility that church leaders are famous for and accept responsibility for his workforce. Unless of course fucking children is one of the unwritten job benefits which the clergy is not willing to surrender.
So far, remarks from the Vatican have been symbolic and abstract and no-one has actually said anything simple such as ” Sorry for raping defenceless children and we will ensure that it will never happen again.”
It took Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi to confirm that Ratz was referring to the scandal with his comments – that is how clear they were. Summaries of the pontiff’s remarks were reported on the front page of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano and on Vatican Radio.
On Monday, the Vatican website showed what it claimed had been a long-standing church policy telling bishops that they should report abuse crimes to police, where civil laws require it.
But critics have said the guidelines were merely a deceptive attempt by Rome to rewrite history, designed to shield the Vatican from blame by shifting responsibility onto the bishops. The Vatican appears to be washing its hands.
The Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, a canon lawyer who has been the main expert witness for victims in hundreds of lawsuits, called the guidelines a “failed attempt at damage control through revision of history.”
He noted that senior Vatican officials, including the current Vatican No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, were quoted in 2002 as saying the church shouldn’t require bishops to report abusive priests to police because it would violate the trust the two shared.
This week, Doyle wrote: “The newly created canonical tradition of referral to civil authorities is the result of one thing: public outrage, the exposure from the media and the pressure for accountability in civil courts.”
A letter confirmed by the Vatican on Thursday showed that a top Holy See official Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyosin 2001 went so far as to congratulate a French bishop Pierre Pican for shielding a priest who was convicted of raping and sexually abusing minors.
Four days earlier, a French court gave Pican, then bishop of Bayeux-Lisieux in northwestern France, a suspended prison sentence for concealing knowledge about the Rev. Rene Bissey. Bissey was sentenced to 18 years in prison in 2000 for raping and sexually abusing 11 minors in the 1990s.
In the letter, Hoyos wrote: “I congratulate you for not having turned in a priest to the civil administration, and I am delighted to have a colleague in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and all the other bishops of the world, will have preferred prison rather than to turn in its son-priest.”
A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said that the letter proved that cases of sexual abuse of minors needed to be handled in a “rigorous and consistent” manner by the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith. Another example of the Vatican’s “double-think”.
Until 2001, cases of sex abuse were handled by local dioceses and some Vatican offices. In 2001 new norms required bishops to refer all clerical sex abuse cases to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope.
The noose is tightening – but not fast enough.
The article below is by Frances D’Emilio of Associated Press. This Easter weekend the pope had a major opportunity to launch a defence in respect of the thousands of children abused by the Catholic church but the Vatican has instead decided to relegate the issue to one of media “tittle-tattle”. The pope’s head appears to be firmly buried in the sand.
Vatican’s Easter Mass infused with defense of pope
It was the Catholic calendar’s holiest moment — the Mass celebrating the resurrection of Christ. But with Pope Benedict XVI accused of failing to protect children from abusive priests, Easter Sunday also was a high-profile opportunity to play defense.
“Holy Father, on your side are the people of God,” Cardinal Angelo Sodano told the pontiff, whom victims of clergy sexual abuse accuse of helping to shape and perpetuate a climate of cover-up. Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, dismissed those claims as “petty gossip.”
The ringing tribute at the start of a Mass attended by tens of thousands in St. Peter’s Square marked an unusual departure from the Vatican’s Easter rituals, infusing the tradition-steeped religious ceremony with an air of a papal pep rally.
Dressed in gold robes and shielded from a cool drizzle by a canopy, Benedict looked weary during much of the Mass, the highlight of a heavy Holy Week schedule. But as he listened intently to Sodano’s paean, a smile broke across the pope’s face, and when the cardinal finished speaking, Benedict rose from his chair in front of the altar to embrace him.
The pontiff hasn’t responded to accusations that he did too little to protect children from pedophile priests, even as sex abuse scandals threaten to overshadow his papacy.
Sodano’s praise for Benedict as well as the church’s 400,000 priests worldwide cranked up a vigorous campaign by the Holy See to counter what it calls a “vile” smear operation orchestrated by anti-Vatican media aimed at weakening the papacy and its moral authority.
Sodano said the faithful came to “rally close around you, successor to (St.) Peter, bishop of Rome, the unfailing rock of the holy church” amid the joy of Easter.
“We are deeply grateful to you for the strength of spirit and apostolic courage with which you announce the Gospel,” said Sodano, who sought to assure Benedict that the scandals were not costing him credibility among his flock.
“Holy Father, on your side are the people of God, who do not allow themselves to be influenced by the petty gossip of the moment, by the trials which sometimes buffet the community of believers,” Sodano said.
The cardinal also rushed to the defense of all the Catholic priests who “generously serve the people of God, in parishes, recreation centers, schools, hospitals and many other places, as well as in the missions in the most remote parts of the world.”
Benedict, who turns 83 on April 16, was holding up well against the campaign of “deceitful accusations” against him, Venice Cardinal Angelo Scola said in an interview on Italian state TV Sunday. Scola said he recently had dined with the pope, who was drawing on his “usual spiritual energy.”
Easter Sunday Mass was the last major Holy Week appearance by the pope in Rome for the thousands of faithful who have poured into the city. On Monday, he will greet pilgrims in the courtyard of the papal retreat in Castel Gandolfo, a lakeside town in the Alban Hills south of Rome.
Worshippers cheered Benedict at the end of Sunday’s two-hour-long Mass in the cobblestone square bedecked with daffodils, tulips and azaleas.
After the Mass, Benedict moved to the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to deliver his “Urbi et Orbi” message — Latin for “to the city and to the world” — which analyzes humanity’s failings and hopes.
He singled out the “trials and sufferings,” including persecution and even death, of Christians in Iraq and Pakistan, and of people in Haiti and Chile, devastated by earthquakes. He hoped for peaceful coexistence to win out over criminal violence in Latin American countries plagued by drug trafficking, and promised to pray for peace in the Middle East.
His speech ignored demands by victims that he shoulder some responsibility for a common practice by bishops in the past of shuffling pedophile priests from parish to parish rather than sullying the church’s reputation by defrocking clergy who raped, sodomized or otherwise sexually abused minors.
The accusations against the pope stem from his leadership as archbishop of Munich, in his native Germany, before he came to the Vatican three decades ago, as well as his long tenure in Rome leading the Holy See’s office dealing with a growing pile of dossiers about pedophile priests.
Sodano’s words irked a prominent advocacy group, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
“When we speak up and tell how our childhood innocence was shattered by sexual assaults by priests, it is not ‘petty gossip,'” SNAP president Barbara Blaine said in a statement.
In the pope’s homeland of Germany, which has been rocked by a widening abuse scandal, police said they arrested a man who attacked the Roman Catholic bishop of Muenster with a broom handle during an Easter service in the city’s cathedral.
Bishop Felix Genn, 60, defended himself with an incense bowl and was unharmed. After the incident, he continued celebrating the Easter service. The man’s motive was unclear, police said.
Germany’s top Roman Catholic cleric, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, urged Catholics in his Easter homily not to break with the church even as they face “the heinous crimes, the dark sides of the church.”
So far, the Vatican’s counterattack to beat back the scandal accusations already backfired in one high-profile attempt.
Jewish leaders, and even some top Catholic churchmen, were angered after Benedict’s personal preacher, in a Good Friday sermon, likened the growing accusations against the pope to the campaign of anti-Semitic violence that culminated in the Holocaust.
The preacher, the Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa, told Corriere della Sera daily in an interview Sunday that he had no intention “of hurting the sensibilities of the Jews and of the victims of pedophilia,” expressed regret and asked for forgiveness.
He was quoted as saying that the pope wasn’t aware of what the sermon would say beforehand, and that no Vatican officials read the text before the Good Friday service.
The apology satisfied one Jewish leader, Elan Steinberg, vice president of the American Gathering of Holocaust Survivors and their Descendants.
“Now that he has apologized and the Vatican has distanced itself from those remarks, the matter is closed,” Steinberg said in a statement.
Paris Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois told Le Parisien newspaper that he understood the “violent and indignant” reaction that Friday’s sermon provoked in Jews and pedophilia victims. Still, the French churchman denounced what he called a campaign of “denigration and slander” against the pope and said he shouldn’t resign.
Washington, D.C., Archbishop Donald Wuerl joined those defending Benedict, writing in an opinion piece in Sunday’s Washington Post that the pope has supported U.S. bishops’ commitment to child protection policies.
In Milwaukee, where one priest was accused of assaulting some 200 deaf boys, at least a dozen churchgoers told The Associated Press they were not closely following a scandal that has engulfed the church. A canonical trial was initiated against the Rev. Lawrence Murphy years after the alleged abuse, but a Vatican office led at the time by Benedict, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, halted the proceedings. Murphy died soon after.
Tony Pisani said he was frustrated by what he was hearing in the news but he is waiting to hear the reaction of the pope himself.
“I haven’t seen too many statements from him,” the Milwaukee man said. “I’d like to see what safeguards he’s implemented to make sure something like this doesn’t happen again.”
One angry parishioner was 68-year-old Jackson Spears, who said the church should have taken strong action from the beginning.
“I think the pope should have been more aggressive and he should have done something sooner,” Spears said. “The church shouldn’t condone these things and should have years ago done something about it.”
Associated Press writer Angela Doland in Paris and Dinesh Ramde in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, contributed to this report.
“Oy Vey, what a fucking shlemiel. Bet he’s a batty boy too. I’m gornisht helfn. Finito!”
A sermon delivered today by the pope’s personal preacher included comments which were as outrageous as they were disturbing. The tone of the sermon suggests that the Vatican is desperate and ramping up the rhetoric without fully understanding the strength and depth of feeling out there in the real world.
Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher likened accusations against the pope and the church in the sex abuse scandal to “collective violence” suffered by the Jews.
The Rev. Raniero Cantalamessa said in a Good Friday sermon, with the pope listening to him in St. Peter’s Basilica, that a Jewish friend has said the accusations remind him of the “more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.”
The remarks came in a prayer service at the Vatican a few hours before Benedict XVI was scheduled to take part in a Colosseum Way of the Cross procession commemorating Christ’s suffering before his crucifixion.
The 82-year-old pontiff looked weary as he sat near the central altar during the early evening prayer service a few before he was scheduled to take part in a candlelit Way of the Cross procession near the Colosseum which commemorates Christ’s suffering before his crucifixion.
Thousands of Holy Week pilgrims were in St. Peter’s Square as the church defends itself against accusations that Benedict had a role in covering up sex abuses cases.
The “coincidence” that Passover falls in the same week as Easter celebrations, said Cantalamessa, a Franciscan who offers reflections at Vatican Easter and Advent services, prompted him to think about Jews.
“They know from experience what it means to be victims of collective violence and also because of this they are quick to recognize the recurring symptoms,” the preacher said.
Quoting from the letter from the friend, who wasn’t identified by Cantalamessa, the preacher said that he was following ”with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the church, the pope and all the faithful of the whole world.'”
“The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism,'” Cantalamessa said his friend wrote him.
In the sermon, he referred to the sexual abuse of children by clergy, saying “unfortunately, not a few elements of the clergy are stained by the violence.”But Cantalamessa said he didn’t want to dwell on the abuse of children, saying “there is sufficient talk outside of here.”
Benedict didn’t speak after the homily, but, in a tired-sounding voice, chanted prayers. He leaned up to remove a red cloth covering a tall crucifix, which was passed to him by an aide. He took off his shoes, knelt and prayed before the cross.
Thousands of Holy Week pilgrims were in St. Peter’s Square as the church continues to defend itself against accusations that Benedict had a role in covering up sex abuses cases.
The pope was scheduled to preside over a prayer service and listen to reflections from the papal household preacher in St. Peter’s Basilica this Good Friday evening.
Thousands of faithful Catholics, clutching candles and prayer books, were expected to gather at the Colosseum to see the pope at the traditional Way of the Cross procession commemorating Christ’s crucifixion.
Amid reports of clerical sex abuse cases in several European countries, including Benedict’s native Germany, the Vatican has fired back at the Western media, but the pope has not publicly addressed the crisis this week.
For pilgrims, the credibility crisis over the pope’s record on combating clergy abuse of minors didn’t colour their Holy Week activities in Rome.
Anne Rossier of Boston, Massachusetts, said the moment was “difficult” and that “lots of people have been turned against the church but we could not have been in a better place right now for Easter.”
Boston was at the epicentre of sex abuse lawsuits amid many allegations that U.S. bishops shuffled paedophile priests from parish to parish, instead of removing them from contact with the faithful. Boston Cardinal Bernard Law, at the centre of the storm, resigned as archbishop, to be assigned to a prestigious post in Rome by the late Pope John Paul II.
The Vatican’s troubles seemed a million miles away as tourists took photos and strolled through St. Peter’s Square on a breezy but sunny day.
Valeria Misuri, 38, from Livorno, Italy, studied a map in the square as she visited Rome with her family.
“I haven’t let the recent scandals change how special this place is at this time for me,”said Misuri. “The church is made up of men, and men have always erred and will always continue to do so.”
Pointing heavenward, she said: “In the end, the conscience lies there.”
Perhaps conscience does lie in heaven but the pope and his cronies will spend this weekend praying for a miracle here on earth. The miracle that they will be praying for will have to be be just as momentous as the one over 2000 years ago which put them in the Vatican.
A very Happy Easter to all you Christians. Big day on Sunday.
A special mention for all our Roman Catholic friends – you must be so proud! And “Hello” to all of you who are living on the small damp group of islands in the North Sea and who are members of that minority Christian sect with lady priests, the Church of England. Jesus loves you too!
I am pleased to say that the video below is still banned by the Vatican because it is offensive to the Catholic church. If you are aware of the current issues which are taxing the Holy See, you may find that slightly ironic.
We are in Holy Week – the most important time in the Roman Catholic calendar. This is the time leading up to the moment when the dead Jesus Christ rose from the dead, thus establishing himself as the Son of God and putting into motion a series of events which would culminate in the formation of the Roman Catholic church.
Pope Benedict XVI (Ratz) opened Holy Week yesterday, amid one of the most serious crises facing the church in decades, with protesters in London demanding he resign and calls in Switzerland for a central registry for pedophile priests.
Benedict made no direct mention of the scandal in his Palm Sunday homily. But one of the prayers, recited in Portuguese during Mass, was “for the young and for those charged with educating them and protecting them.” This may have been a reference to all the young people who have been abused by perverted priests.
As is the custom in the Roman Catholic church, events and issues are rarely referred-to directly. Parables and riddles are preferred as these are open to interpretation and confusion and have been the staple diet of Catholics for two millennia.
In his homily, Pope Ratz said that Jesus guides the faithful “toward the courage that doesn’t let us be intimidated by the chatting of dominant opinions, towards patience that supports others.” That riddle was probably a reference to the media who are being blamed by the Vatican for spreading tittle-tattle about priests who allegedly beat, humiliated, raped and sodomised young children. The Vatican’s argument being that everyone’s “at it”, so why should the media wish to single out Catholic priests. The Vatican has even pointed out that most child abuse takes place within the family and that all sorts of other institutions abuse children.
Palm Sunday commemorates Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem and is the start of the church’s Holy Week, which includes the Good Friday re-enactment of Christ’s crucifixion, death and his resurrection on Easter Sunday.
This year, Holy Week is very different because this most important Catholic feast does not sit alone in the limelight. The most solemn week on the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar, has been stained by the clerical abuse scandal that has spread across Europe to the pope’s own native Germany. This is a scandal which “has legs” and eventually may totally swamp the Vatican. Meanwhile the Vatican closes ranks, squirms and protects the man who is simultaneously at the top, centre and bottom(!) of the rapidly snowballing scandal – Pope Ratz.
One very basic principle is worth remembering. The pope is God’s main man here on earth and as such, he is infallible, which means that he is always right. Even if the Cardinals and Archbishops secretly believe that something that the pope has said is utter tripe, they are bound to support him. They know that if their pope was to be impeached, there would be a domino-effect which would drive not only clergy but also “believers” from the church. The faithful have always believed in the pope’s infallibility but cracks are now beginning to surface. There is dissent. Papal infallibility has taken a heavy knock.
Yesterday in London, the apathy capital of the world, a few dozen people gathered outside Westminster Cathedral to demand that the pope resign. Demonstrators carried placards saying “Pope? Nope!” and “Don’t Turn a Blind Eye.”
The Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols insisted the pope wouldn’t — and shouldn’t — quit. “In fact, it is the other way around,” he told BBC television. “He is the one above all else in Rome that has tackled this thing head on.” No he hasn’t, Vincent! If he had tackled the issues head-on , something would be happening NOW. Priests would by now be languishing in prison cells and not still out there on the streets, slavering at the thought of young worldly pleasures yet to come their way.
Illegal pleasures without sanctions must be a very attractive proposition and even a powerful recruitment tool for the Catholic church. Where else is it possible to screw young children, feign self-loathing and shame, be forgiven by God himself and then be moved to a new parish where there’s fresh young meat to be had?
A church is populated and managed at its highest level by unwordly, virgin, unsophisticated innocent old men. The added advantage of daily access to children must be a paedophile’s dream. The Catholic church is administered by old men who do not see sex as a bodily function but as something so precious for some reason, they should give it up “for God”.
Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the Catholic church is populated by sexually-frustrated men and women who on many occasions have been forced to sublimate their feelings in very unnatural ways, the Vatican rejects suggestions that the celibacy of its priests and nuns has caused the sexual abuse of children. As recently as this month, Pope Ratz has reaffirmed celibacy as a “gift to God”.
It seems that the pope will be adopting the Gordon Brown method and convening an inquiry, probably in lieu of an Interpol investigation. Then, one presumes, the guilty priests will be prayed-for, forgiven and claim their rightful place in heaven. In the old days, they may have gone to Purgatory but that’s been all but scrapped.
The Roman Catholic church is so used to not letting facts get in the way of faith, that it believes the same principles must apply to all aspects of life. They have all the known names and places and should publish them immediately. The world is screaming-out for the facts and not mealy-mouthed mutterings about “mistakes”, “moral credibility” or “regaining trust”.
It seems that Catholic priests are allowed to fuck kids but not talk about it.
The really worrying thing is that this may only be the tip of the iceberg and that the Vatican already knows far more than it is divulging. There may be thousands of other Catholics who were or still are being assaulted by clergy but are too frightened or embarrassed to come forward to face their abusers.
The really frightened ones will not come forward until the Vatican wakes up, creates an atmosphere of understanding and humility and punishes the transgressors here on earth. Only then will the Roman Catholic church resurrect itself.
Pope Ratz should reflect on this as he demonstrates his own humility when he washes the feet of 12 laymen on Holy Thursday in a ritual which symbolically fulfills the command of Jesus at the Last Supper::
When He had washed their feet, and taken His garments, and resumed His place, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do as I have done to you (John 13:12-15).
Pope Ratz should bring the ritual bang up-to-date, line up 12 priests and instead of washing their feet, he should give their genitals a good scrub. They would not-only be physically and spiritually cleansed but the ritual could also bring real meaning to the phrase “Second Coming”.
“Would you like to see what I’ve got in my sac, meine Liebe?”
In Brazil, a video of a 82 year old bishop having sex with a teenager has been shown on television and it now looks as if the well-known but no-so-well documented saga of systematic abuse of children and young adults by the Roman Catholic Church is not an isolated local issue but a worldwide problem. But then again, we already knew that.
There seems to be little political will to investigate any of the reported cases and that appears to be only as a result of the extreme power that the Catholic church exerts not-only on its congregation but also its politicians. For example, the Germans should by now be carrying-out a full-scale criminal investigation – the same applies to Ireland and all other European countries which are embroiled in this scandal.
Unfortunately, the authorities are once again leaving the Vatican to take the lead and that will inevitably mean delays, prayer, hand-wringing, confessions and undeserved forgiveness. One suspects that if a priest is accused and dragged into court, he may spill the beans on all the other sinning priests. That would probably mean that the whole sordid house of cards would come tumbling down and neither the church nor governments can afford that risk.
If there is so little political will to investigate these abuses in countries such as Germany, imagine what the clergy in wholly Catholic countries such as those in South and Latin America, is getting away with. There are governments which know that the Vatican has the “people-power” to bring them down.
The other reason for this conspiracy of silence is because of the Vatican’s own policies on paedophilia , the latest of which were drawn-up by Ratzinger before he became the Pope. It was Pope John Paul ll who in 2001, put Ratzinger in charge of the strangely-named “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”. This euphemism was the future-Pope’s sex-department and his brief was to investigate child rape and torture by Catholic priests.
This is an extract from a Ratzinger directive which was issued in the form of a confidential letter to every bishop: “Charges are to be investigated in the most secretive way … restrained by a perpetual silence … and everyone … is to observe the strictest secret which is commonly regarded as a secret of the Holy Office … under the penalty of excommunication.” That statement alone qualifies Ratzinger to be accused of obstructing justice as well as inciting others to do so.
In the letter, Ratzinger did remind their Eminences of the extreme gravity of a certain crime. But that crime was the reporting of rape and torture. The accusations, said Ratzinger, were only treatable “within the church’s own exclusive jurisdiction”. Any sharing of the evidence with legal authorities or the press was utterly forbidden.
There is little doubt that today, the entire Roman Catholic church and especially the Vatican is in a state of panic and heightened alert – the Catholic equivalent of Defcon 2 . Their Chief Exorcist has already blamed Satan and no doubt this will be followed by calls for forgiveness and mercy.
The Catholic Church should be granted mercy – as much mercy as generations of priests have been dispensing genitally to the young, weak and disabled.
Sometimes one wishes that there really was a Hell.
The Economist has caught up with the scandal. Here is a lightly-edited version. The headline is mine.
Sex scandals are breaking over the Catholic church with such fury that the Vatican has felt bound to defend Pope Benedict XVI himself. Children at some Catholic schools in Germany have been systematically abused; paedophiles were transferred to other jobs, rather than dismissed or prosecuted. Abuse has surfaced in Austria and the Netherlands. In Ireland Cardinal Sean Brady, the primate, has admitted that he was present in 1975 when two teenage boys were persuaded to sign oaths of silence about their abuse by Father Brendan Smyth. The church defrocked Smyth, but nobody, including Cardinal Brady, told the police about his crimes and he remained free to abuse boys for two decades.
Yet denial still reigns. Bishop Christopher Jones, head of the Irish episcopate’s committee on family affairs, has complained that the church is being singled out, when most abuse happens inside families and other organisations. “Why this huge isolation of the church and this huge focus on cover-up in the church when it has been going on for centuries?” he asked. He should remember that two wrongs do not make a right and in fact, he is not the first cleric to snivel that the media are being unfair in singling out perverted priests when there are so many other perverts about.
The scandal is more widespread than the one that swept through the United States in recent years, costing the church up to $2 billion in compensation payments. In recent weeks at least 350 victims have come forward in the Netherlands, along with around 300 more in Germany and Austria. In Brazil a priest and two monsignors have just been suspended from their church duties following allegations of involvement in the making of a sex video involving a youth. Most of the cases date back to a time when the church was less aware of the terrible harm caused by sexual abuse and before it had introduced stricter controls. But many old scandals touch clergy alive today. Some are now in positions of great responsibility. One is the primate of Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady, who admits taking part in a grotesque inquiry in 1975 when two children, reportedly aged 10 and 14, were made to swear secrecy about their ordeal. Their abuser, though inculpated by the church, was never reported to the police.
Even worse for the church are two issues that may directly involve Pope Benedict XVI himself. One is that in 2001, when he was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, he signed an ill-phrased document that appears to order that child-abuse cases be dealt with in secret. Catholic leaders say it refers only to canon-law procedures and does not preclude criminal charges.
Secondly, while archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982, his diocese accepted a paedophile cleric who was supposedly intended to undergo therapy. But the priest (who for legal reasons may not be identified in media that can be read in Germany) was assigned to a parish where he taught at a school and abused at least one more child. The pontiff’s then deputy has taken the blame for the decision and says the future pope knew nothing about it.
After being convicted in 1986, the Bavarian priest was banned from working with children but not unfrocked. Two years ago he was sent to yet another parish where by last summer he was saying mass at a camp site for young people. It was only on March 15th, three days after the archdiocese released details of his case, that he was suspended for breaking the ban. His boss, the parish priest in Bad Tölz, in deeply Catholic rural Bavaria, said he had never been told of the offending cleric’s past. The previous day brought dramatic scenes at the parish church, as members of the congregation barracked a replacement priest taking the mass. Some walked out.
The pope’s response to this and other cases is attracting criticism, including from prominent laymen such as Wolfgang Thierse, a former Social Democrat president of Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag. He said: “The church needs to be more honest and stricter with itself, and that naturally includes the pope.” One lay organisation has even called on Pope Benedict to resign. Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, demanded “truth and clarity about everything that has happened”.
The head of the German Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, said after briefing him on March 12th that the pope had listened with “great shock, keen interest and deep sadness”. But in some eyes, that is not enough, for a man who before his election as supreme pontiff implied that he wanted to sweep out the “filth” from the church. A Catholic lay movement noted sharply that he did not send a message of sympathy to the latest victims. That stokes suspicions that the Vatican still puts its own prestige and secrecy above solace for the abused.
Indeed, the pope’s main pronouncement on the affair has been on a different front: to reject, apparently out of hand, a suggested reform that some feel would deal with the roots of the problem. The cardinal archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn, first advanced, then hastily disowned, a proposal for reconsidering priestly celibacy. This is obligatory for priests of the main Roman church (but not for former Anglican clerics, or for most of the priests in Eastern-rite churches that also come under papal authority). The pope declared that celibacy was not to be sacrificed for “passing cultural fashions”.
Comments by his officials have shown little appreciation of the scope and depth of the crisis. No working group or individual is fully in charge of clearing up the mess. Nor has any systematic explanation been forthcoming of the (numerous but piecemeal) steps already taken, ranging from compensation for victims to new rules on child protection. Instead the papal spokesman has hinted at an anti-Catholic plot and complained that the church is being unfairly treated because paedophiles are at least as common in other walks of life. That sits oddly with the Church’s claim to represent God on earth and with the trust and respect it expects from the faithful, particularly from children (exemplified in the priestly title, “Father”).
Much hope now rests on a pastoral letter that the pope is preparing for Catholics in Ireland. Speaking to pilgrims on March 17th, he said he hoped it would help “repentance, healing and renewal” of a “severely shaken” church. A second test concerns Cardinal Brady. He said on March 15th that when he helped to silence a sex offender’s victims, he was “doing what I was required to do.”
That sounds a bit like the notoriously flimsy defence of “only obeying orders” which goes down especially badly with Germans. ome say that removing the Irish primate, who has said he will only go if the pope requests it, could signal that the era of cover-ups is finally over.
“The “M” is silent. Do you like sweets, little boy?”
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has finally mentioned the sex abuse scandal currently rocking the homeland of Pope Benedict XVI, referring to it as a “major challenge” to German society and warned that the only way to come to terms with it was to “find out everything that has happened.”
Merkel’s comments to parliament today came amid growing impatience from Germany’s Roman Catholics for the pontiff to address the scandal in his homeland, where some 300 former Catholic students have come forward with claims of physical or sexual abuse.
During his weekly general audience in Rome, Benedict said he hopes his upcoming letter to the Irish faithful concerning the sex scandal in the Irish church would help with “repentance, healing and renewal” there, but failed to make any mention of the issue in Germany.
Speaking in English, Benedict acknowledged the Irish church had been “severely shaken” as a result of the crisis, and said he was “deeply concerned.” He did not, however indicate whether he was concerned for the priests or for the young boys that they had screwed.
In her remarks — her first public statement on the German scandal — Merkel stressed that it was important not to point the finger. Difficult not to point because it is just the Catholic Church has been at the heart of the German scandal, sparked in January when victims at a church-run Berlin high school went public.
“I think that we all agree that sexual abuse of minors is a despicable crime and the only way for our society to come to terms with it is to look for the truth and find out everything that has happened,”Merkel told parliament. “The damage suffered by the victims can never fully be repaired.”
Last week the head of the German Bishops Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, met privately with the pope. Zollitsch is in Berlin today, to discuss the issue with members of the German parliament.
The Chancellor’s ministers for justice, family affairs and education have called for a round table meeting that would include Catholic Church representatives. The proposed meeting will be in April and Zollitsch has said that German church officials would participate. On the agenda would be an examination of whether to extend the statute of limitations. Currently a victim must contact investigators within 10 years of their 18th birthday to trigger criminal proceedings. Whereas, in order to claim damages in civil proceedings a victim typically has only three years.
In scope and numbers, the German crisis is much smaller than that rocking Ireland, where three government-ordered investigations — into the Dublin Archdiocese, the southeast Irish diocese of Ferns, and a defunct network of Catholic workhouse-style schools for poor children — have documented a shocking catalogue of child abuse and church cover-ups from the 1930s to 1990s involving more than 15,000 children.
At St. Patrick’s Day Mass, Ireland’s highest ranking priest, Cardinal Sean Brady urged the nation to “humbly continue to deal with the enormity of the hurt caused by abuse of children by some clergy and religious and the hopelessly inadequate response to that abuse in the past.”
In Germany, abuse victims from the Bavarian Alps to the northern Rhineland have surfaced nearly every day with fresh allegations against priests and teachers. The complaints include former pupils of the school linked to the renowned Regensburger Domspatzen boys choir led for three decades by the pope’s brother the Rev. Georg Ratzinger. Claims have also come from former students of some of Germany’s top boarding schools.
“Let’s not oversimplify things,”Merkel said. “We need to speak about the statute of limitations, we can address the idea of compensation, but the main issue is that this is a major challenge for our society.”
Karl Juesten, a spokesman for Germany’s Roman Catholic Church had said today that the pontiff could mention Germany later this week in conjunction with his expected letter to Irish Catholics over their own scandal.
“We certainly cannot rule out that he will use this opportunity to address the situation in Germany, it is his homeland,”said Karl Juesten.
The German Pope should mention that his priests have been buggering and otherwise assaulting young boys and that they will be brought to justice. However, he most probably will not say anything too inflammatory and will once again speak in vague generalisations about how things must be “put right”.
The perception is that because these perverts somehow “serve God” , that they are above Man’s Law. They are not above secular justice and because the Catholic Church has shown quite clearly over the years that it is incapable of dealing with degenerate priests and is probably concealing the names of the guilty, the Vatican should be subpoenaed. It should be forced to produce the names of all priests who have ever assaulted young people and they should be subjected to proper justice and the full force of the law.
Many Men in Frocks ought to be defrocked and imprisoned. Before that happens though, the Pope ought to tell them that while investigations are taking place, they should stop shagging and beating little boys.
After all, it is Lent.
In the last week-or-so, I have discovered that a very good shortcut to unpopularity is to write negatively on church-related matters. Catholics will defend their priests and allow them almost any indiscretion because they are priests.
The omni-present backdrop to Catholic worship, the sex-scandal, is now developing into a pan-European furore which is gathering momentum by the day.
The British press remains strangely reticent and coy, whereas our European friends are reporting on the subject with increasing regularity as they look under recently-discovered slimy catholic stones which have been hiding the church’s debauchery and violence for years.
Some of the claims made, such as young boys being forced to have anal sex with each other are almost too horrible to describe but the story has to be told. The storm is now within sight of the Pope himself and I sincerely hope that if you arrived here via Twitter, Facebook or any other social site, you will re-post this link.
The following article is from my chums at Associated Press and was filed just a few hours ago. It is by AP’s Shaun Pogatchnik with contributions from Associated Press Writers Melissa Eddy in Berlin, Ciaran Giles in Madrid, Nicole Winfield in Rome, Monika Scislowska in Warsaw and Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands.
It often starts as a voice in the wilderness, but can swell into an entire nation’s demand for truth. From Ireland to Germany, Europe’s many victims of child abuse in the Roman Catholic church are finally breaking social taboos and confronting the clergy to face its demons.
Ireland was the first in Europe to confront the church’s worldwide custom of shielding pedophile priests from the law and public scandal. Now that legacy of suppressed childhood horror is being confronted in other parts of the Continent — nowhere more poignantly than in Germany, the homeland of Pope Benedict XVI.
The recent spread of claims into the Netherlands, Austria and Italy has analysts and churchmen wondering how deep the scandal runs, which nation will be affected next, and whether a tide of lawsuits will force European dioceses to declare bankruptcy like their American cousins.
“You have to presume that the cover-up of abuse exists everywhere, to one extent or another. A new case could appear in a new country tomorrow,” said David Quinn, director of a Christian think tank, the Iona Institute, that seeks to promote family values in an Ireland increasingly cool to Catholicism.
Quinn noted that stories of systemic physical, sexual and emotional abuse circulated privately in Irish society for decades, but only moved aboveground in the mid-1990s when former altar boy Andrew Madden and orphanage survivor Christine Buckley went public with lawsuits and exposes of how priests and nuns tormented them with impunity.
Floodgates opened for Irish complaints that have topped 15,000 in this country of 4 million. Three government-ordered investigations have shocked and disgusted the nation, which has footed most of the bill to settle legal claims topping euro1 billion (nearly $1.5 billion).
“A lot comes down to: When does that first victim gather the courage to come forward into the spotlight?” Quinn said. “It seems to take that trigger event, the lone voice who says what so many kept silent so long. That’s basically happening now in Germany. It could happen next in Spain, Poland, anywhere.”
In January, an elite Jesuit school in Berlin declared it was aware of seven child-abuse cases in its past and appointed an outside investigator, Ursula Raue, to seek testimony. Within weeks, she had gathered stories of long-suppressed woe from more than 100 ex-students abused by their Jesuit masters, and from 60 molested by parish priests.
“I always thought that at some point the wave would reach us,” said Petra Dorsch-Jungsberger, a commentator on Catholic affairs and retired University of Munich communications professor.
She credited heavy German media coverage of the latest Irish abuse scandal — a November report into decades of cover-up in the Dublin Archdiocese involving approximately 170 priests — with inspiring similar soul-searching in Germany.
“Once the door had been opened, then many others felt they were able to step up and say: That happened to us too,” she said.
In recent weeks, new German abuse claims have surfaced on a near-daily basis and spread to Pope Benedict’s Bavarian heartland and the Regensberg boys’ choir long directed by the pope’s brother. Benedict was Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich from 1977 to 1982, and questions now focus on what role, if any, the pontiff, played in handing pedophile priests to new parishes rather than to the law.
A Swiss abbot said in an interview published Saturday that 60 people have reported being victims of abuse by Catholic priests in Switzerland.
Abbot Martin Werlen of the Benedictine Abbey of Einsiedeln told Swiss daily Aargauer Zeitung that the allegations were reported to the Swiss Bishops Conference, which is investigating them.
The Vatican on Saturday denounced what it called aggressive attempts to drag Pope Benedict XVI into the spreading scandals of pedophile priests in his German homeland, and contended he has long confronted abuse cases with courage.
In separate interviews, both the Holy See’s spokesman and its prosecutor for sex abuse of minors by clergy sought to defend the pope.
“It’s rather clear that in the last days, there have been those who have tried, with a certain aggressive persistence, in Regensburg and Munich, to look for elements to personally involve the Holy Father in the matter of abuses,” Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi told Vatican Radio.
It’s inevitable that all bishops of the day, including Ratzinger, handled abuse complaints against priests in-house, said the Rev. Fergus O’Donoghue, editor of the Irish Jesuit journal Studies.
“The pope was no different to any other bishop at time. The church policy was to keep it all quiet — to help people, but to avoid scandal. Avoiding scandal was a huge issue for the church,” he said. “Of course there was cover-up,” he added. But worse was “the systematic lack of concern for the victims.”
In the Netherlands, a former Catholic boarding-school abuse victim is leading a campaign for accountability. Bert Smeets, 58, has formed Mea Culpa, a victims group that has collected testimony from hundreds of abuse victims and is mulling a class-action lawsuit against the Dutch church.
The church has apologized to the victims and set up an inquiry headed by a former government minister, a Protestant. Smeets dismisses that effort as “a typical Vatican cover-up.” He said the pressure on the church came from aggressive investigations into abuse in Ireland and the U.S.
In other predominantly Catholic areas of Europe, child-abuse scandals have tarnished individual priests and even a Polish archbishop, but have not mushroomed into a mass movement. In Spain, more than a dozen priests have been convicted of child abuse in recent decades and two potentially larger-scale cases are attracting attention.
Ireland was until relatively recently the most enthusiastically Catholic country in Europe. Its half-dozen seminaries exported priests worldwide. All but one of those seminaries is closed now, illustrating the rapid falloff in Mass attendance as the economy has advanced and secularism has spread.
Quinn, the Dublin think-tank director, noted that a few Irish dioceses are openly warning that they’re struggling to pay bills stemming from abuse claims. In the southeast diocese of Kells, the archbishop’s house has had to be remortgaged.
“The church is asset-rich but cash-poor,” Quinn said, noting that it’s the biggest property owner in Ireland but has comparatively little cash in the bank. He said the Vatican, too, has less money on tap than resides in the endowment fund of a typical top-tier U.S. university.
Keplero High School in Rome has installed condom vending machines. That has initiated a Catholic Church moral storm and the celibate men in frocks have said that the move will encourage young people to have sex. Even Rome’s mayor has said that it sends the wrong message.
Nevertheless, the Keplero high school has vowed to go ahead with its experiment, in spite of the very real possibility of incurring the wrath of the Vatican. Schools in many other European countries have already installed condom machines – not to “encourage” young people to have sex but to curb teen pregnancy and HIV.
“This is not about stimulating the use of condoms or intercourse,” said the Keplero headmaster, Antonio Panaccione . “On the contrary, it’s about prevention and education.”
The school will install six vending machines which will dispense the little rubber “sheaths of sin” at a very competitive two euros for a packet of three.
The sex-obsessed Catholic Establishment has asserted itself and spoken:
Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the pope’s vicar for Rome, said the decision trivialised sex. He said it “cannot be approved by Rome’s ecclesiastical community or by Christian families who are seriously concerned with the education of their children.”
The newspaper of the Italian Bishops’ Conference yesterday made the very interesting observation that sex was being reduced to “mere physical exercise.” The Bishops are obviously doing it wrong.
The newspaper, L’Avvenire, lamented that young people these days have no spiritual guidance on sexuality and that educators are more concerned with “the health and hygiene consequences of sex” than its moral implications.
The Vatican opposes artificial contraception. Catholic teaching views sex as a means for procreation within marriage – although, the tsunami of Catholic sex scandals currently sweeping across Europe suggests that some catholic clergy sees sex as maybe a little more than a purely conjugal activity.
According to the World Health Organisation, every year, 40-50 million women faced with an unplanned pregnancy, decide to have an abortion. That’s about 125,000 per day. That is the sort of statistic that the Vatican ought to be considering when promulgating the moral aspects of sex or when advocating abstinence. Italian women have about 150,000 legal abortions per year with another estimated 30,000 carried out illegally. More than 70% of those women were using a contraceptive method at the time of conception (primarily the Catholic favourite, coitus interruptus – otherwise known as the Vatican Okey Cokey).
The good news is that for the last twenty years, the Italian abortion rate has been falling steadily, primarily because of the increased use of other (non-Catholic) contraception methods – such as the condom.
Pope Benedict XVI drew criticism from European governments, international organisations and scientists last year when he said that distributing condoms was not the answer to Africa’s AIDS problem and could make it worse. He said a moral attitude toward sex — abstinence and marital fidelity — would help fight the virus.
Some say that it is high time that the church stopped pontificating on various sex themes and allocated more of its time to spiritual rather than physical matters. Yet the Church’s obsession continues.
Headmaster Panaccione added in a phone interview , “The scandal is that we do it in Rome, because this is the city of the pope and therefore one can’t really talk about sex but they can talk about paedophilia, can’t they?” He was, of course referring to the sex abuse scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church in several European countries.
But some criticism came from outside the church, too.
A leading association of parents, MOIGE, said the move was “trivial and insufficient.” The conservative Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno was quoted by the ANSA news agency as saying that “on the one hand it’s childish to think young people need these vending machines, on the other hand it seems like a bad message to them.” Answers on a postcard please.
The joyous aspects of heterosexual sex have always been a mystery to the church. The mere fact that humans derive pleasure from the act has made it look suspiciously like sin. Add to that the fact that Catholic priests have to keep it in their trousers but at the same time have lost credibility through their perceived proclivities, makes their call for the banning of school condom machines seem hypocritically hollow.
The Pope’s brother, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger, 86, has said he was completely unaware of allegations of sexual abuse at the Regensburger Domspatzen boys choir, where he was in charge for nearly 30 years.
Luckily for him, he has contacts in high places and he and his fellow Domspatzen old-boys have the added protection of the Vatican’s extremely effective “wall-of-silence” approach to all cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by their clergy. For instance, you may have noticed that this particular scandal is not being reported too vociferously by the media, although it is potentially one of the biggest scandals in the Catholic church’s history. SEE HERE.
The “stonewalling” in respect of all matters concerning the sexual interaction between catholic clergy and young children is a result of a 2001 Vatican document which was drawn up by the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the present Pope . Consequently, all cases of sexual abuse are dealt-with internally. The mere existence of the 2001 Ratzinger document suggests that the Vatican is fully aware of the epidemic-like proportions of the Catholic church’s paedophile-related issues.
Organisations such as the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests should not exist and have said that the Vatican’s claim that this particular case has been dealt-with in a timely fashion as “depressing and disingenuous.”
“Sadly, the truth is just the reverse,”said Peter Isely, Midwest director of the group. “Regarding paedophile priests and corrupt bishops, the church hierarchy responds only when forced to do so by external pressures.”
This festering sore in the side of our society should be dealt-with at United Nations level. There should be high-profile prosecutions and appropriate punishments because dealing with such serious criminal offences is a matter for secular authorities and not priests.
Rev Georg Ratzinger, the Pope’s brother.
Please do not read any further if you are easily offended. I have written about the abuse of children by sexually-frustrated Roman Catholic priests and as one of my core beliefs is that every child has an inalienable right to love and safety, I have not pulled any punches. However, if you are a Catholic Priest or are thinking of becoming one, do please read on and glimpse your future.
The pope’s brother Georg Ratzinger says in a newspaper interview that he slapped pupils across the face after he became head of a German boys’ choir in the 1960s. He also says he was aware of allegations of physical abuse at an elementary school linked to the choir, but did nothing about it.
In an interview with the Passauer Neue Presse published today, he said he “repeatedly administered a slap in the face” to pupils at the Regensburger Domspatzen boys choir. He says it was common then but he stopped after Germany banned corporal punishment in 1980. It took an Act of Law to prevent him from hitting young boys.
Ratzinger said he knew of allegations of physical abuse at another school but did “not have the feeling that I should do something about it.”
Ratzinger insists that he knows nothing of sexual abuse which suggests that either he is lying or that he was a very poor administrator.
Today, the Vatican said that Catholic sexual abuse scandals are cause for anguish but the Roman Catholic Church’s response has been prompt and transparent. It always is when you’re caught.
Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said any abuse in the church is “especially deplorable” given its educational and moral responsibilities. But he added the problem of child abuse is wider than just the cases that have surfaced within the church. He says that focusing on the church alone would not truly depict the full extent of the problem.
Lombardi’s attempt at sharing the Church’s deplorable record with other institutions is vile and unforgivable.
Scandals over child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy and cover-ups by church hierarchy have exploded in recent months in Ireland, Germany and the Netherlands. The American church is still dealing with the financial and emotional fallout from years of their scandals.
The German abuse allegations are particularly sensitive because Germany is the homeland of Pope Benedict XVI and because the scandals involve a prestigious choir that was led by his brother, the Rev. Georg Ratzinger. He led the choir from 1964 until 1994.
Georg Ratzinger has repeatedly said the sexual abuse allegations date from before his tenure as choir director. Asked in an interview today whether he knew of the allegations when he took over as head of the choir in 1964, Ratzinger insisted he was not aware of the problem. Presumably, the sexual abuse of young boys by catholic priests stopped in 1964, paused for 30 years and then recommenced in 1994.
“These things were never discussed,” Ratzinger told Tuesday’s Passauer Neue Presse German daily. “The problem of sexual abuse that has now come to light was never spoken of.” Buggering choirboys would not be a usual after-dinner conversational topic but the way that Ratzinger expresses himself suggests that because the abuse was not openly discussed, it did not take place. Mutual masturbation by catholic priests is another topic which is never discussed, ergo, it does not exist.
Amid reports of beatings at primary schools that are considered “feeder schools” for the choir, Ratzinger said boys had complained to him but he had no idea how serious the allegations were.
“I ask the victims for pardon,” he told the paper.
Hopefully, the victims will tell him to fuck off.
The Vatican statement did not cite the choir, but did mention alleged abuses in Germany, Austria, Ireland and the Netherlands. Again, one presumes that this is a “deflecting” tactic , which is the Catholic hierarchy’s usual approach.
Lombardi defended the main ecclesiastical institutions involved, saying they have taken up the matters “promptly and decisively.”
“They have shown a desire for transparency, in a way they have accelerated bringing the problem to light by inviting the victims to speak up even when the cases dated to a while back,” Lombardi told Vatican Radio. That’s extremely generous of the men in dresses.
He said the cases are pushing the church towards dealing with the problem. The so-called “cases” involve violence , masturbation, buggery and other vile sexual acts, so it will be interesting to see how the church will “deal with the problem”. Will there be custodial sentences or just the usual cash handouts to broken victims followed by a log-jam of priests heading for already-overcrowded confessionals?
“While we can’t deny the gravity of the anguish the church is going through, we cannot give up doing everything possible so that in the end positive results can also be achieved,” Lombardi said in a prepared statement. He cited goals such as better child protection and the church’s own “purification.” Child protection, yes but one cannot help but feel that “purification” of the Catholic Church would result in a severe depletion of numbers.
HERE IS A FURTHER SELECTION FROM THE EXPANDING LEXICON OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH’S FAVOURITE CONTACT SPORT:
In Austria, the head of a Benedictine monastery in Salzburg admitted on Tuesday to sexually abusing a child decades ago and offered to resign. Arch-abbot Bruno Becker said he abused a 12-year-old boy more than 40 years ago, when he had not been ordained, the Austria Press agency reported. He said he informed church authorities last year after his victim contacted him, and apologized to him. Church authorities accepted the 64-year-old’s resignation immediately.
In the Netherlands, Rotterdam Bishop Ad van Luyn has apologized to Dutch victims and called for an independent investigation into the sexual abuse of children by priests after 200 alledged victims contacted help services last week.
More than 170 students have claimed they were sexually abused at several Catholic high schools across Germany. Last week, the Regensburg Diocese said a former singer of the church choir — the one lead by the pope’s brother — had come forward with allegations of sexual abuse in the early 1960s.
There have also been reports of severe beatings by administrators at two primary feeder schools for Ratzinger’s former choir, one in Etterzhausen and one in Peilenhofen. One director, identified as Johann M, who headed the Etterzhausen school from 1953-1992, has been cited in several allegations.
Ratzinger said boys would open up to him about being mistreated in Etterzhausen. Evidence suggests that because he did nothing about it, he should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder in the dock with the others.
“But I did not have the feeling that I should do something about it. Had I known with what exaggerated fierceness he was acting, I would have said something,” he was quoted as saying by the German paper.
“Of course, today one condemns such actions,” Ratzinger said. “I do as well. At the same time, I ask the victims for pardon.”
So far, there hasn’t been a single statement from the Catholic Church which clearly states exactly what it is that they are apologising for. Here is a suggestion: ” We are sorry for beating and screwing innocent boys and not-only messing with their bodies but also with their heads.”
This time it looks as if a dozen Hail Mary’s and a couple of laps of the Rosary will not be enough of a penance.
One more question. Was God watching while the pervert priests were fucking schoolboys or administering either beatings or those delicious hot protein mouthwashes that Catholic priests are so famous for? Enough of the Catholic church’s mealy-mouthed platitudes, crocodile tears, lies and their insincerely pathetic “begging” forgiveness. They do not deserve forgiveness.
They may have dry-cleaned the semen stains from the fronts of their cassocks but they cannot wash away the evil with a wad of money and a few snivelling self-serving words.
Yesterday, the Vatican said that it backed a German diocese’s efforts to shed light on sexual abuse allegations connected to a renowned boy’s choir once led by Pope Benedict XVI’s brother Georg Ratzinger.
The Regensburg Diocese, which oversees the school connected to the Regensburger Domspatzen choir, said that a former singer came forward with allegations of sexual abuse in the early 1960s. The Diocese is now hiring a lawyer to help it to carry out a “systematic clarification” of abuse allegations.
The Vatican said it supported the diocese in its “willingness to analyze the painful question in a decisive and open way.”
“The main reason for the church’s clarification is to render justice to possible victims,” the Vatican said in a statement published in its newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano.
Presumably therefore, there will be no punishment for the perpertrators who, one supposes will be punished in the afterlife. Let us pray that the punishment involves large pineapples and a mallet.
Mons. Gerhard Ludwig Mueller, the bishop of the Regensburg Diocese, said in L’Osservatore that the cases that have so far emerged “do not coincide with the term of Prof. Georg Ratzinger,” the Pope’s brother, who led the choir from 1964 to 1994. Ratzinger told German public radio he did not know of any abuse cases involving members of the choir.
However, German weekly news magazine Der Spiegel reported in Monday’s issue that therapists in the region are treating several alleged abuse victims from the choir.
One of the former pupils, Franz Wittenbrink, who lived in the boarding school until 1967, was quoted as saying that a “sophisticated system of sadistic punishments in connection with sexual lust” had been installed there. “Everyone knew it.” Wittenbrink argued that the Pope’s brother must have known of these practices. “To me it is inexplicable, how the pope’s brother, Georg Ratzinger, who led the choir since 1964, would have not known about it,” the magazine quoted Wittenbrink as saying.
From 1969 to 1977 the Pope, then Joseph Ratzinger, taught theology at the University of Regensburg but so far, no link has been found between his presence and this particular outbreak of that well-known Catholic affliction – “Ratz’ Ass”
Germany has recently been hit hard by a Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, which has grown from the claims of seven former pupils at a Catholic-run Berlin high school. Now, more than 170 ex-students from several of the church’s most prominent German educational facilities have come forward.
The Catholic Church appears to be having to allocate an increasing slice of its revenue to the payment of victim compensation claims. It’s a pleasant thought for practicing Catholics to know that a measurable amount of their Sunday collection plate money is spent on paying for deviant priests’ past pleasures.
We wonder what God thinks about it all – because after all, the activities of perverted priests must somehow fit in with God’s Purpose. The Bible teaches that God’s plans are for good and not for evil; to give us a hope and a future. There is no mention in God’s mission statement of beatings, the sodomising of young boys or even any hint of a slavering kinky priest running his withered hands in anticipatory lust over the trembling pink cheeks of a weeping 10 year-old choirboy – but who knows?
Mind you, they do say that God moves in mysterious ways. Apparently, so do many priests. After they have been found out, they usually move to a new diocese.
The Catholic Church continues its obsession with penis-related matters. Das Pope has asked Catholic Bishops here in the UK to fight the Equality Bill which would (in theory) make it illegal for the Catholic Church to prevent homosexuals from attaining senior positions within the church.
Currently, religious organisations are able to reject candidates for particular roles on grounds such as gender, marital status and sexual orientation.
The Roman Catholic Church is a sales organisation whose main products are Big G, JC and many other characters and concepts from their Book of Promised Rewards. Archbishops and Bishops are their Regional Sales Directors and Sales managers. In the last few years they appear to have been missing their sales targets because both recruitment and revenues within the Catholic Church are falling. That is because instead of getting on with their job, they appear to be spending their time worrying about sexual abuse, paedophilia, abortion, sexual promiscuity, celibacy and homosexuality. Knob-related topics.
Yesterday, another Roman Catholic sex-scandal surfaced – this time in the Pope’s own backyard .
Germany’s top Jesuit apologised for serial sexual abuse apparently committed by two priests at one of the country’s most prestigious high schools, saying there was evidence of it for years but Jesuit officials did not “react the way it would have been necessary.”
According to the school’s director Father Klaus Mertes, at least 20 students were sexually abused by the two priests at Berlin’s private Catholic Canisius Kolleg in the 1970s and 1980s. He was accompanied at a joint press conference by Father Stefan Dartmann, the head of the Jesuit order of Germany, on Monday evening at Canisius Kolleg.
That is much higher than the initial seven sexual abuse cases attributed to the two priests, Fathers Peter Riedel and Wolfgang Stab, that Mertes had reported last month.
All the victims at Canisius school in Berlin were male and most were about 13 when the abuse began, Mertes said. They are around 40 now. Some of the later victims also include girls, according to Dartmann.
The Jesuit order has assigned an independent counsellor for sexual abuse victims to investigate all allegations and present a report on the findings in two weeks.
The Catholic Priest sex-scandals in North America and Ireland also continue to rumble-on. Nowadays cover-ups , pay-offs and compensation claims are a major line in the Catholic Church’s annual budget.
The Roman Catholic Church should concentrate of getting its own house in order before it attempts to dictate to non-Catholic states. As with all of their teachings, their thinking on homosexuality is at best confused. This is what the Church teaches:
“Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is a more or less strong tendency ordered toward an intrinsic moral evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder”.
The German Pope believes that when the Creator (Big G) made the Earth, there was a natural order to things and that homosexuality “violates the natural law”.
In 2005, the Catholic Church published a directive entitled: Instruction Concerning the Criteria for the Discernment of Vocations with regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in view of their Admission to the Seminary and to Holy Orders. (No kidding!)
Here’s what it said:
“The Catechism distinguishes between homosexual acts and homosexual tendencies. Regarding acts, it teaches that Sacred Scripture presents them as grave sins. The Tradition has constantly considered them as intrinsically immoral and contrary to the natural law. Consequently, under no circumstance can they be approved…..In the light of such teaching, this Dicastery, in accord with the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, believes it necessary to state clearly that the Church, while profoundly respecting the persons in question, cannot admit to the seminary or to holy orders those who practise homosexuality, present deep-seated homosexual tendencies or support the so-called “gay culture”.
What they were saying was that homosexual tendencies are OK but buggery is not.
The Church’s obsession is nothing new and the vilification of homosexuality began as early as the 12th century but it wasn’t until the 20th century that the Church authorities made a distinction between homosexual orientation and homosexual genital activity, forbidding the latter while “tolerating” the former.
That is somewhat paradoxical, because it is estimated that approximately one-third of the priesthood is gay. At the head of this largely homosexual organisation stands Benedict XVl who says that the passing of the British Equality Bill will:
“Impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.”
There is no mention or thought of the individual freedom – but that has always been a problem for a church whose “sell-by” date expired one hundred years ago.
Later this year, the Pope will be visiting the United Kingdom (at a cost to the taxpayer of £20 million). Let us make sure that he hears our collective voice in support of gays and any other groups that the Romam Catholic Church wishes to discrimintate against.
All religious institutions should learn that their religion is secondary to the law of the land. Dogma-driven government does not work. We proved that in the United Kingdom for hundreds of years and modern theologically-managed states are demonstrating it right now.