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.
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)
“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.
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.
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!”:
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
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.
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.
Boris Johnson once again has showed his leadership credentials by being approachable, witty and engaging. He does make the rest of them look a little bit pedestrian. In spite of his shambolic image, you can sense a rod of steel running through both his speech and personality. One to watch for the future. Imagine a TV debate between Boris and Gordon Brown. It will never happen – but what a prospect.
- Boris Johnson and friend
George Osborne’s department lined up like a row of fairground ducks was quite diverting. George Osborne is gradually shaking-off his Tim Nice-but-Dim image.
It’s very brave of David Cameron to allow Ken Clarke a voice – bearing in mind his strong Euro-sceptic stance. The Conservative Euro-sceptics should not attempt to embarrass David Cameron at Conference. They all seem to think that the next election is already won.
Custom dictates that when any Party is in the middle of its Conference, the other Parties keep quiet and do not make any pronouncements. So, Alistair Darling’s crudely populist announcement of cutting the incomes of GPs and other high earners leaves us in no doubt that the Election campaign is now in full swing.
Retirement at 66? Purleeeze George – you can do better than that! Many will still retire at 65 and most of those who have not retired will be out of work – unless there is a local B&Q. The ACTUAL money saved will be negligible and it was hardly worth the leak.
It appears that as far as cutting Public Expenditure, the main Parties are now engaged in what can only be described as a peeing contest.
It was good to see that old duffer Kenneth Brown. So there is life after death!
The Editor of the Sun did not have to buy a single drink in the Conference bar last night. Hardly surprising but the Sun’s move to withdraw support from the Labour Party caused some disappointment among Conservatives. About as much disappointment as finding out that Gary Glitter can’t babysit tonight.
On a completely separate subject, the annual yakfest that is the 11th Pride of Britain Awards took place last night. One is never sure why only some kids with cancer attend the show, why only the kids whose parents managed to inform the media of how their brave 2year-old “dialled 999 whilst motherwas having a seizure in the bath” receive bravery awards and why Gordon Brown has to make a “surprise” appearance. We all like proper heroes but nowadays it seems that we have developed a real “need” to worship – as long as it involves lots of celebrities. If Michael Caine is made to feel any more ” ‘umble” I shall throw up. Having said all that, I’ve never managed to watch the show. This year there is a teacher whose Maths lessons contain RAP (one presumes that the “C” is silent). Then there’s the lady who stood between a small child and a Rottweiler. The best one is an ex-heroin addict with 176 convictions who now helps “young people to change their lives”.. As long as Simon Cowell, Tess Daly and Davina are there plus a room-full of tear-wracked luvvies we can rest assured that all’s well. Now where can I buy a Rottweiler? I’ve just noticed something and it is the final piece of jigsaw in a theory that I have been working on for some time. Here goes. I believe that Christopher Biggins is God. Why? because God is everywhere.
Safety campaigners are saying that if the Conservatives axe speed cameras, the accident-rate will increase. Here’s a compromise – and it will be comparatively cheap to implement. How about a sign that says “SPEED CAMERA IN 50 YARDS” on either side of every single speed camera in the country. Not a good idea, I hear you say. Why not? Oh I see. What you really want is speeding motorists that produce a revenue and not necessarily slow motorists who do not.
Sir James Dyson managed to look like a prat when his autocue failed. A Dyson Vacuous.
Liked the announcement today that the Conservatives will begin a process of ridding us of Government forms and red tape. THAT’S the sort of thing we like to hear.
Conservatism SHOULD be the politics of giving everyone in Britain the ability, opportunity and tools to look after themselves and their families – without the smothering State intervention that is the hallmark of Socialism – even when it is wearing the thin veneer of New Labour. That should ALWAYS be, of course, coupled to the State taking care of its weakest citizens. Call it benevolent Conservatism if you like. Simple. THAT is the message that David Cameron and his rejuvenated Parliamentary Party should be promulgating. Needless posturing and name-calling should have no place in the modern Conservative political toolbox. David Cameron should look straight down a camera lens and explain what modern Conservatism is. Unsurprisingly, there are those who have never heard exactly what modern Conservatism represents because their views and opinions are still being distorted and influenced by New Labour spin.
George Osborne is looking very promising.
So why DOES Jordan look as if she’s wearing a gumshield? Is in “hommage” to her cross-dressing new beau and professional thug Alex (Max – you’re running out of crap copy!) or has she been “done”. I think that we all know the answer to that one.
David Cameron has been photographed with a glass of champagne. Big deal! I shall simply repeat a previous report: The biggest consumption of champagne at Conference time is by Labour. That was told to me by a former Chief Barman at the Grand Hotel in Brighton. Hypocrites.
Today, all the Socialist rags are laying-into George Osborne who has introduced a bit of realism into our understanding of the economy. One suspects that once the Conservatives are in power and manage to have a good look at the books, they will see that things are far worse than has so far been admitted by ther present incumbents.
We are still living in cloud-cuckoo land as far as the economy is concerned. The FTSE is UP. House prices are UP, Gold is UP, Tesco shares are UP. In fact – everything is UP. Sounds great doesn’t it? So why aren’t we all feeling more positive. The fact is that the FTSE is up because money is being invested on the Stock Exchange as a result of bank savings rates being so derisory plus, much of the money currently being invested is foreign so it could leave us at any time. The money that is being invested by British banks is not all real money. Some of it is the stuff that has been printed by the Bank of England and handed to the banking system. Mr Quantitative Easing strikes again. Gold has been creeping up for months. It is normally viewed as a “hedge” – somewhere to run when equities and commodities are down in price. That is not the case at present. Something that has gradually been creeping into our collective peripheral vision is the slow-collapse of the dollar. There are strong rumours that very soon, oil will no longer be traded in dollars – there is foreign plotting afoot! Once the dollar really does go into freefall, share and commodity prices will tumble very quickly. The British economy has much to fear because the factors that it has traditionally relied-upon to buttress the economy have all but gone. The City of London USED to be the world’s financial centre. That is no longer the case. WE used to MAKE things and export them. Nowadays, that is down to about 17% of the country’s total economic output. Finally, the British economy and Governmemt are “over-borrowed” with little realistic prospect of repaying much of what was borrowed. If George Osborne had been in possession of ALL the facts, I don’t believe that he would have wished to even beigin his speech yesterday. He did very well and reminded us that we need to take a more collective and inclusive approach to heal the economy.
Yesterday I said that I would probably throw -up if Michael Caine was once-again “umbled” at the Pride of Britiain Awards. Apologies to Michael as it was Joanna Lumley’s turn to be “humbled and overcome”. Please make it stop.
So Boris and Dave are ex-Bullingdon boys and used to piss it up, throw bread rolls about, get toffed-up and pose for silly photos. Go to any Comprehensive School on Prom Night (American import, I’m afraid) and watch scores of youngsters, toffed-up, arriving in ridiculous stretch limos and being encouraged to be extremely silly. So where’s the difference between our Grease wannabees and the Bullingdon Boys. Apparently, it’s only OK to dress like a posh prat and behave outrageously if you’re NOT a posh prat. It seems that those aspirational working classes are being herded by the Labour media back towards a concept which one hoped had been left behind – The Politics of Envy.
There was a great photograph of the Pride of Britain winners outside No 10 Downing Street. Sarah Brown looked very vivacious – so why did Gordon Brown look as if someone had inserted a six-inch ruler between his cheeks? Oh I see. Smile, eh? Wow.
Are we, as a nation, losing our sense of humour? We all remember Boris Johnson insulting Liverpool, Portsmouth and rather bizarrely – Papua New Guinea. He acknowledged all that in the introduction to his speech at Conference this week. Whatever you think of Boris, you have to admit that he carries a very mischievous sense of humour. That reminds me of a pilot who was censured by his bosses for the following Tannoy announcement: “Ladies and gentlemen, we are about to fly over Liverpool. Would you please ensure that you have placed your hands over your wallets.”
She used to work at Little Ted’s Nursery and is a pervert. Although her husband does have our sympathy, one cannot help but think that at some stage during the marriage, he would have benefited from a visit to Specsavers.
The Conservatives have announced that they will deal with binge-drinking and teenage violence through the medium of taxation. Surprisingly, this is the first Conservative initiative that I disagree with. Remember that some drugs are far more expensive than alcohol, yet, money is still found for them. The alcohol genie is so far out of the bottle that there are no initiatives that will ever change the Brits’ uneasy relationship with alcohol. Social Engineering through taxation does not work. Let’s face it, Brits drink to get drunk – and then they drink some more. A few more pence on booze will make no difference whatsoever. Practical tip: The increased tax will be on cider and strong lager so do what kids do already, buy normal lager and tip cheap vodka into it. Now what?
Could it be true? Avram Grant is returning to Portsmouth as Director of Football? That should cheer the place up. Here is a photo of Avram practicing his Gordon Brown smile.
- Sharon Shoesmith has launched judicial review proceedings against Haringey Council, Ofsted and the Children’s Secretary Ed Balls. She was in charge of Haringey Social Services during the Baby P murder. One of the great British traditions is that if there is a screw-up on your watch then you fall on your sword. Ms SHOESMITH DID HERSELF NO FAVOURS during her few TV appearances when the Baby P affair was at its peak. She seemed aloof, smug, unrepentant and unapologetic. ” I was following orders” is the usual excuse. Hers was “We followed all procedures”. That neither exonerated her, nor did it go down well with the public. Had she cried, begged forgiveness and made some sort of admission, the public would have been a little more sympathetic. As it was, Ed Balls did exactly the right thing in instructing Haringey to sack her without compensation.
Labour bleating noises have been heard again today. General Sir Francis Richard Dannatt, GCB, CBE, MC is our most distinguished soldier and tomorrow (Thursday) he will be officially announced as a Conservative Life Peer who will be advising the Conservatives on defence. General Dannatt was our highest-ranking soldier and Chief of General Staff. He was going to be promoted to Chief of Defence Staff , which means that he would have become head of all of our armed forces – not just the Army. However, Gordon Brown personally blocked the promotion and General Dannatt was instead given the consolation prize of Constable of the Tower of London. Traditionally the Chief of Defence Staff is principal military adviser to the British Government. Gordon Brown was miffed because of General Dannatt’s “repeated calls for better pay and conditions for servicemen”. So General Dannatt’s sins? Speaking his mind, not being a Brown “yes man” and caring about his soldiers’ safety and welfare. Gordon Brown really has no idea whatsoever – probably because he was dealing with a proper leader. It’s patently obvious that Brown does not recognise the species. He should learn that leadership is much more than Benito Mussolini-type posturing with overworked, overtired, adjective-free, moribund speeches.
Obama wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Quite right too. Climate, Democracy, Nuclear Disarmament – in fact, everything that he has touched so far. It looks as if Zimbabwe’s Morgan Chanderai was the runner-up. There is already talk and discussion of whether Barack Obama deserves the Nobel Peace Prize with only nine months in office. The fact is that the Nobel committee can see that in spite of the fact that Obama’s actual achievements so far are comparatively modest – he is by far the most influential individual on the planet as far as the short and medium term futures of the Earth are concerned. The progress that he has made in the last nine months is nothing short of remarkable.
It appears that today is probably the last posting day for Christmas. If you want to send cards abroad, you’re too late. Christmas parcels should have been posted by March 31st. Why didn’t Crozier stick to football. This is yet another case of a Business Model triumphing over the Customer. Perhaps Royal Mail should be renamed Royal Lemming.
- Ethiopia has suddenly become the focus for all anthropologists. An ancient skeleton was found in 1992 and it has taken 17 years for the research team to rebuild it. Why all the excitement? The skeleton belongs to an in-between species of humanoid about 4.4 million years old. It has been designated Ardipithecus Ramidus. It is not “the missing link” but by extrapolation, it appears that it is probably about 9 million years since the division between apes and humans. So where was John Prescott this week?
- The East of England Minister Barbara Follett is to stand-down from Parliament. She is (was) Minister for Culture, Creative Industries and Tourism. Her reasons for leaving? Yes, it’s the old chestnut: “For family reasons – to spend more time with my family”. Heard her name before? She’s the MP who claimed £500 to repair a Chinese rug ( don’t we all?) and she also claimed £25,000 “for security reasons”. She has since repaid all of the money. So how could she afford to sign such a large cheque? Her husband is millionaire pulp fiction writer, Ken Follett. Barbara and Ken epitomise the “champagne socialist” and are chums of Tony and Cherie Blair.
- Jobs for the boys. Former Northern Rock boss, Adam Applegarth is now an advisor to Apollo Management. They are an American Equity firm. Adam is advising them on the purchase of bad loans, including parts of Northern Rock bank, the former Building Society he brought to its knees. Perhaps a touch ironic but perfectly legal. He will earn about 200,000 per year which is a lot more than the thousands of people who lost their jobs at Northern Rock. It’s all very worrying.
- Today, Ireland will vote in favour of the Treaty of Lisbon. It’s their second attempt. The Irish economy is currently in such an appalling state that they appear to have little choice. However, if they do not support the Treaty, then it’s curtains for the Treaty.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is predicting that the British economy will grow by 0.9% next year. That’s about four times the current politicians’ prediction. House prices have returned to their pre-crunch 2008 levels, the FTSE 100 index is UP. As one of the few people who predicted nationalisation of the banks, I am still not sure whether to put the Bolly on ice just yet.
- Vanessa George, Colin Blanchard and Angela Allen. They are the three baby-abusing perverts who are spread all over the newspapers today. Angela Allen is the one from Little Ted’s Day Nursery in Plymouth. She photographed herself sexually abusing babies as young as 12 months. Whichever prison they end up in, they are guaranteed some very close attention from other inmates. The burglars, drug dealers, fraudsters etc look almost honourable professionals next to these degenerates. I do hope that the other prisoners are not too gentle with them.
A survey has just been published of the world’s top Broadband Countries – taking into account speed etc. The United Kingdom is languishing in 25th place. The top country? South Korea. Is this another indicator of the rise of the East and the slow eclipse of the West?.
The Daily Mirror has adjusted its reportage of the Tories today – presumably in response to the Sun’s decision to back the Tories. It’s going to be a right mess leading up to the election. The gloves are off
BAE systems is about to be prosecuted for dishing out hundreds of millions in bribes. You may recall that when Tony Blair was in charge , there was a bit of a bribery scandal involving Saudi Arabia, but as they say – all charges were dropped. There is one thing that both our Government and Judicial System would do well to remember and that is that greasing the cogs of commerce through the medium of bribery is normal in many countries – especially hot ones. Many years ago, I sold a yacht for a $1million to an Arab Prince and we shook hands on the deal and arranged to complete the paperwork the following day. That night , my phone rang. It was the Prince’s “Private secretary and advisor”. This is what he said: “Although the Prince is a very rich man, alas he is not a generous man. You will also understand that he always seeks my counsel and almost always heeds my advice. I have yet to advise him as to whether he should complete this purchase – but I am sure that we can come to some sort of arrangement.” I was outraged! I told him that I did not make a practice of dishing out bribes and that I would report our conversation to the Prince. I never saw the Prince again. Some time later I realised that the Prince had probably been sitting next to his Secretary when he had made the call and it was probably his way of getting a few thousand off the price. I also recall another yacht-owning Middle Eastern client. Whenever we presented him with an invoice, I would ask the staff to make sure that it was itemised and added-up wrongly, but in his favour. Usually by either £50 or £100. Before handing over a wad of cash, he would add-up the bill himself, realise that it was incorrect , say ” Yes, that appears to be in order” and pay. He was happy and I was happy but more importantly, honour had been satisfied, he had won a little victory and he always came back to us because he enjoyed our little game. We should NOT always be so po-faced about the way that other nationals do business. It may not be pretty but it works.
Is it really the end of the Labour Party Conference? Thank You, God. Harriett Harman is not too chuffed about the Sun’s decision to support the Tories. She said: “Let’s face it, the nearest their political analysis gets to women’s rights is Page 3’s news in briefs.” It’s only a matter of time before Harriet gets the call from Hugh Hefner.
At the Labour Conference yesterday, the jurassic Tony Woodley, leader of UNITE, was cheered when he tore up a copy of the Sun. One presumes that he had looked at the pictures first. He said: “I suggest the rest of the country should do exactly the same thing”. Labour should persuade more progressives such as Tony Woodley to give voice to their views – that way they’re absolutely GUARANTEED to lose not only the next election but several after that. During Tony Blair’s tenure these Brylcreemed 50s throwbacks used to be kept in a darkened room or padded box until after Conference. A dignified silence without even a platform-mention of the Sun would have been far more powerful.
Financial Analysts seem to be confusing the state of the FTSE 100 with the British Economy. The fact is that many of the billions invested in the Stock Exchange consists of foreign money. That’s where many of the profits are going – abroad. Instead of flying to Monaco to play the tables at the Casino, many foreigner “investors” are winning lots in the Casino that is the London Stock Exchange.
The FTSE 100 has experienced its biggest quarterly rise in 25 years. Once again, this is being hailed as some sort of success. It simply means that lots of bets have been placed. The punters will be taking their profits soon. Then the Government can once again blame the bankers. Let’s hope that they don’t break the bank again.
Politicians are always saying that it is the Pension Funds and Insurance Companies own most of the assets traded on the Stock Exchange. In fact, between them, they only own about 25%
Today the national minimum wage rises by 7p an hour to £5.80 and for 18 to 21-year-olds, the minimum wage increases by 6p to £4.83 per hour. This is also the day when the government legislation on “tips” has changed. From today it illegal for bars, restaurants and hotels to use tips or service charges to make up a minimum salary. That is all very well but in the grand scheme of things, it is a comparatively trivial matter and possibly not a terribly cost-efficient move by the Government. Especially as the Government has already conceded that the changes governing tips will lead to an estimated £60m in extra costs to ensure the legislation is implemented properly. The new code will also lead to higher National Insurance payments. This is an inflationarymove because bars , restaurants etc will simply “up” their prices to maintain their margins. The British Hospitality Association (BHA) estimates the new rules could lead to an additional £130m in costs and up to 5,000 job losses. There are those of course who feel that a tip should be a customer’s expression of appreciation for good service and should not be used by an employer to bring wages up to the minimum. Mind you, both the Federation of Small Businesses and UNITE are both in favour of the changes. The only people who will be really affected are the tippers and the tipees. The customer tippers will experience increased prices and the waiter tippees may suffer up to an estimated 5000 job losses. There is a saying: ” If it ain’t broken – don’t fix it.” Needless to say, one of the few groups who will not be affected is Politicians. You may have heard that when they eat out or stay in hotels – it tends to be on expenses.
Apparently, there is a small but statistically significant rise in patient deaths when junior doctors start work in August. Perhaps the same survey should be done with slightly different parameters: Before pubs open and after closing time.
A friend sent me a cartoon yesterday which, for the first time, explained the constant Midde East conflict . Jewish man looking up at the sky saying, “Now, let me get this straight God. The Arabs get the oil and you want us to cut the end off our what….?”
This snippet explains better than anything the anonymous nature of the Liberals’ leader. Nick Clegg will be delivering the Leader’s rabble-rousing Conference for the THIRD time!! He will attempt to come cross as a TOUGH leader. Doesn’t compute, does it? He always looks as if he’s just taken a “NICE” pill.
Justin-lee Collins has said what many are thinking: Bruce Forsyth should have stopped TV presenting three or four years ago. There’s a touch of the Emperor’s New Clothes about the whole thing. So much so that no-one appears willing to say ” Brucie, you are now coming across as an old twat. Piss off”. Instead the poor old bugger is being patronised, allowed to be unfunny (obviously from the tumbleweed school of humour) and worst of all, he’s being referred-to as “sprightly”.An adjective every man dreads because it is THE word which signifies the beginning of the end. It is NOT a compliment. It means that you are past-it and when you attempt to tap dance avec embarrassing Sammy Davis Jr-esque gurning, you look like a swinging cadaver with a ferret up a wet trouser leg.
I have just discovered that Chas & Dave have split up. p.s. I am writing this on Beachy Head.
Kristna Rihanoff whose Strictly Come Dancing partner is Joe Calzaghe celebrated her birthday yesterday. Rumour has it that Joe and Kristina have grown very close. I wonder whether he had any difficuty in wrapping her present?
More meaningless military “sincero-talk”today. Acting Sergeant Michael Lockett was blown up by a roadside bomb in Helmand Province. “There’s now a gap in our ranks that will be so very difficult to fill” and “Sgt Lockett’s raw bravery and seflessness cost hm his life but undoubtedly saved that of one of his soldiers.” are just two more examples from the Army Book of Fine Words. Meaningless twaddle. Sgt Locketthas left behindastrickengirlfriend and three children aged eight, seven and five. “We take solace in the fact that he died doing a job he was born to do” was more puke-inducing bollocks – this time from his father. Stop this pseudo-heroic crap and bring ALL of our young soldiers back here to the United Kingdom, where they belong. The Taliban certainly do not see these young soldiers as heroes – more like fairground ducks.
When will the Vatican be called to account over the tens of thousands of children that have been abused by pervert priests? The Catholic Church has been accused at the United Nations Human Rights Council of a systematic and long-standing cover-up. The Vatican is in breach of its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Handing out MILLIONS in compensation is really not the way forward. It’s customary to pay for sex up-front , not ten, twenty or thirty years after the event. Let us hope that one day there will be a time when the Vatican can close its child-abuse fund and get on with the business of religion.
Nothing about Gordon Brown today because he hasn’t said anything new or original. Situation normal.
Did you see Darth Mandelson being questioned on the subject of bankers’ bonuses last night? As Business Secretary, he has the power to stop the bankers in their tracks. But he cannot and he would not answer any bonus-related questions.
General Stanley McChrystal, the top US commander in Afghanistan has warned that the war there could be lost unless there is an increase in troops within a year. He is asking for an additional 30,000 troops. This is truly developing into another Vietnam. Currently, there are 100,000 troops in Afghanistan, 62,000 of whom are American. Time to talk.
The United Kingdom is needlessly wasting resources by sending too many average and some downright thick students to University. In fact, there are too many Universities. Hence the current funding crisis. The solution is so simple that even an Education Minister ought to be able to work it out.
The worldwide recession and the resulting drop in consumer demand has had a profound effect on industrial production. That has had an unexpectedly welcome effect on greenhouse gas emission – it has fallen by over 40%. Perhaps the Global Warming Mullahs will take this opportunity to shut up.
Anish Kapoor, the 1991 Turner Prize winner has a solo exhibtion the Royal Academy. This event is unusual because Anish lacks the traditional qualification for such a exhibition. He isn’t dead. If you enjoy abstract sculpture and/or you like spouting pretentious arty bollocks, then this exhibition is for you. Here’s a nosegay from Anish himself: “That sense of the poem being put together as word objects relates to sculpture in a very fundamental way. Sculpture also has this ability to be what it isn’t. It’s kind of about the illusory and the real.”Quite. Anish is very keen on vaginas so do look out for the odd wobbly red letterbox shape.
The media seem surprised that construction companies and builders have been ripping-off Local Authorities and other organisations which are spending other peoples’ money. It’s been going on for years. This is from April 2008 – CLICK HERE– and it includes a scene from the Coconut Club, which you will be hearing more and more about over the next few weeks.
This week is Climate Week – a crucial week in the quest for a global climate deal. World leaders are meeting at the UN in New York and a G20 summit in Pittsburgh. Meetings such as this have been going on for a few years now so let us hope that the current series of meetings produces something that has been sadly missing from previous encounters. Action. In December the Copenhagen environmental conference will hopefully be the real turning point and turn meetings into agreements into action.
Global Warming: Predictions are made using computer models and although the general consensus is that Global Warming is occurring, there are scientists (the so-called “deniers”) who have alternative models which suggest that the Earth will cool before its becomes hotter. Regrettably, the religious-like aspects of Global Warming, treat scientists who deny Global Warming as heretics who are often lampooned andmarginalisedby both the scientific and political communities. The latest of these is a Professor Mojib Latif, from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel, who has suggested that the long-term warming trend could be masked – perhaps for as long as 10 or 20 years – by a temporary cooling caused by natural fluctuations in currents and temperatures called the NorthAtlanticOscillation. It all seems to depend on which set of data is plugged into which computer model. However, it is the politicians who are the true believers who only appear to read data which supports their dogma.
Helen Goddard , music teacher has been jailed for 15-months as the result of a lesbian affair with a 15-year-old pupil. How modern. Not nice – but definitely “of the age”.
Rumour has it that Louis Walsh, the Irish spud and pop manager from the X-factor is going under the knife in order to improve his looks. There must be a long queue of knife-sharpening volunteers. Surprising that he hasn’t yet benefited from sitting so close to that pair of BotoxedBookends – Simon Cowell and Danni Minogue – by osmosis.
Sir Bobby Robson’s Memorial service must have been an ordeal for Paul Gascoigne. There was only one photo of Gazza that the snappers wanted – and they got it.
This is the sort of medical research that we like: If you have alcohol in your bloodstream, you are far less likely to die from a head injury, says Dr Ali Salim from Los Angeles. The findings are based on a 5-year study of 38,000 people. You can’t be too careful. Cheers.
Nothing in the Press about Jordan today. Max Clifford must be on a long weekend break.
Attorney-General Baroness Scotland is still facing an uncertain future. Gordon Brown, her boss is being his usual decisive self. This is what he said this morning: “We will have to find out what has actually happened and I will have to wait for that report this morning and she will want to answer the questions that are put to her. We will have to make decisions.” Brown obviously has not been watching the news or reading his Daily Worker. The fact is that Baroness Scotland employed someone who did not have authorisation to work in the United Kingdom. In fact, her papers expired five years ago. As usual, the long grass is quivering in anticipation.
It now appears that Womens World 800m champion Caster Semenya was tested ages ago and there has been concern over her sex for months. The issue did not suddenly materialise at the last Word Championships. The whole thing has been handed so badly that there is every likelihood of IAAF resignations.
Baroness Scotland will probably resign this week. If every politician who made a mistake resigned, Westminster would be empty by now.
It looks as if Megrahi is going to be the first criminal to be retried on the Internet. We’re still awating an intervention from God and the miracle recovery. There has been one previous miraculous recovery by a convicted criminal. Ernest Saunders (1980s Guinness Scandal) was freed by a judge because he was suffering from Alzheimer’s. So far, Ernest Saunders in the first and only recorded case of a total recovery from Alzheimer’s. The recovery took place soon after he was released from jail. Speaking of miraculous recoveries – Ronnie “released on compassionate grounds” Biggs has been seen out and about on his mobility scooter. Megrahi or Biggs? I’m off to Ladbrokes to make a small investment.
The Liberals are having their occasional rush of blood and putting themselves forward as a party of government. Remember David Steel in 1981? “Go back to your constituencies and prepare for government.” Forget it boys and girls. There’s Vince Cable and Norman Baker and after that it all becomes a bit anonymous. Nick who?
The Liberals want to tax home owners whose properyis worth in excess of a million. They will be the only Party whose policies will be derailed by a property crash andonthatbasisalone, this policy has the depth and solidity of a closing-time back-of-a-beermat “I really lovvve you” concept. They’re not sponsored by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, are they? This new policy is the Liberals’ biggest-ever lurch to the left. The sort of thing that New Labour would have done when they were Proper Labour.
The elephant in the room – the one that no-one is talking about is still there. I am of course referring to the economy.
Several big companies, including a couple of large builders as well as the Royal Bank of Scotland will be coming to market very soon to raise many billions. Watch those share prices. Here we go again.
Have you noticed how Kerry Katona’s nose is looking more and more like Danniella Westbrook’s last nose-but-one?
The Education bods are gettinng a bit twitchy at Ed Balls’ suggestions of swingeing cuts in Education. It is the designer-suited BMW-driving “advisers” at County Hall who should think twice before renewing their gym membership or booking that holiday in Tuscany. CLICK HERE
I did not see Alesha Dixon’s debut on Strictly Whatsit but it sounds as if she had a list of pre-prepared crap written down, dispensed it quite randomly and personalised it by adding bad grammar.
Rules are being published this week which will exempt family and friends from being prosecuted after assisting in a suicide. It is purely coincidental that these rules are being rushed through just before Gordon Brown’s conference speech.
Manchester City manger Mark Hughes is complaining that too much time was added on at the endofyesterday’sderbygame with Mancheser United. Michael Owen scored Man Utd’s winning goal in he 97th minute. Hughes forgets that his team had the identical extra time in which to score.
Friday September 18th 2009
- There has been some concern that Romell Broom may have suffered mental anguish when two Ohio State officials failed to find a vein in order to deliver a fatal injection. According to Broom’s lawyer, Broom had suffered both “mental and physical injuries” and apparently became distressed and appeared to cry. Broom was convicted of raping and then killing a 14 year-old girl.
- We’re too fat, we drink too much alcohol, we’re unfit, we ingest female hormones in our meat and weedkillers from our vegetables and we’re too stressed. Paradoxically, our life expectancy is increasing.
Alistair Darling is engaged in a series of meetings in order to decide where spending cuts can be made. If you’re expecting decisions within the next few months – stop being so silly. Although professional pundits do now have the opportunity to make pointless predictions.
Andy Burnham is suggesting yet more NHS changes. The God of Change strikes again! This month’s idea is that we will all be able to choose our GP. I would like one that’s qualified, understands human anatomy and is sober.
Baroness Scotland should know that in a Court of Law, ignorance is no defence. Mind you, the Baroness is the Attorney General. Hopefully, hiring someone called Loloahi Tapui(clue!) with out-of-date papers was just an oversight and as such, does not generate a witch-hunt. Oh yes – there’s an enquiry. There’s always a feckin’ enquiry.
Suddenly, Jordan doesn’t want to talk about “the rape”. It seems that her PR people are running out of interesting stories. The only remaining possbilities are either ” I was abused as a child” or “I was abducted by aliens”.
Bit of a “to-do” about unofficial sperm donors. Apparently, ladies can contact a sperm donor on-line, arrange a meeting and either be handed a container-full of the stuff or on occasion have it delivered direct through the medium of sex. Hence the phrase : “”Bottled or draught?” Sounds like an excellent service as well as an interesting career move, although it could mess-up the old CV, especially if the CV is printed on a sheet of Kleenex. Just realised that if this type of work is a career, the phrase “hand job” begins to make sense.
How would the management at Student Loans UK feel if they were told that because of administrative incompetence, their September salaries will be paid at the end of October. They would probably be quite upset. Next question: How do young kids with the incredible stress associated with leaving home feel-when they’re told by Student Loans UK that their University grants will be paid “about” four weeks late? Why is the beginning of the academic year ALWAYS a surprise? For the record and to help Student Loans UK: The next academic year will be starting in October 2010. Hopefully, that’s enough notice.
Scientists at Newcastle University have produced human sperm in the laboratory. Didn’t know that there was a shortage. Just take a chipping hammer to any Confessional carpet.
Gordon Brown said today “Cooperation between nations at the G20 summit will be crucial to ensure global economic recovery” That is probably the twentieth version of the same sentence . It is a truism and it’s boring. Here’s another sentence which I hope Gordon finds as interesting as his own deep thoughts: ” The sun is in the sky”
Here is a quote from this evening’s No 10 bulletin: “The Prime Minister is launching a brand new podcast series this week talking directly to you about the big issues of the day. The podcasts, which will be available on our iTunes channel andonYouTube, will be recorded at Downing Street or around the world when the Prime Minister is travelling.” Wow! That Gordon Brown is so “street” -using that Interwebthingytoconnectwith the YouTube dudes. Way to go, MC Gordo! Soon, he’ll be buying a pair of those really cool Levi Strauss blue denim casual trousers with the turn-ups, copper rivets and the little red label. Sound! Should go well with the black brogues.
Remember what I told you about the American dollar going into freefall. Soon. Continue reading Monday September 7th 2009-Friday September 18th 2009