November 1, 2016

And the children suffer:  Louisiana Supreme Court rules priests don’t have to report child abuse.

In a disappointing decision that puts children at risk, the Louisiana Supreme Court rules that Catholic priests are not “mandatory reporters” of child abuse when administering sacramental confession.

The Oct. 28 ruling finds that laws which categorize priests as “mandatory reporters” of suspected child abuse do not apply to priests who discover such information while hearing confessions.

The ruling refers to article 609 A(1) of the Louisiana Children’s Code:

With respect to mandatory reporters: Notwithstanding any claim of privileged communication, any mandatory reporter who has cause to believe that a child’s physical or mental health or welfare is endangered as a result of abuse or neglect or that abuse or neglect was a contributing factor in a child’s death shall report in accordance with Article 610.

Summarizing the decision, Religion Clause reports:

Therefore, the provision in La. Child. Code art. 609 that eliminates a defense of privileged communications in some instances for mandatory reporters does not eliminate protections for priests.

The court ruling states, in part:

… any communication made to a priest privately in the sacrament of confession for the purpose of confession, repentance, and absolution is a confidential communication under La. Code Evid. 511, and the priest is exempt from mandatory reporter status in such circumstances by operation of La. Child. Code art. 603, because “under the … tenets of the [Roman Catholic] church” he has an inviolable “duty to keep such communications confidential.”

The Advocate reports the original case involves a young woman who told a Baton Rouge-area Catholic priest that a longtime church parishioner was sexually abusing her when she was only 14-years-old. The priest did nothing to stop or report the alleged abuse.

The new ruling  protects the priest and the church from being held accountable for failing to protect children and report child abuse. In essence, the ruling places church dogma above the law.

As always, it is the children who suffer.

Bottom line: If a priest hears about a child being abused, in confession or not, that priest has a moral obligation to do everything in their power to protect that child, including reporting the abuse to the appropriate law enforcement authorities. To do otherwise is to fail as a human being.

Yet the fact that the Catholic church would fight for and win the right to keep child abuse hidden should come as a surprise to no one. After all, the Catholic church has a long and well documented history of protecting child abusers at the expense of innocent children.

(Image via YouTube)
(Image via YouTube)
October 17, 2016

What could possibly go wrong?

Denis Robert Hall, a convicted pedophile, is running for a seat on the Saskatoon Catholic school board in Canada.

Hall pleaded guilty in 1981 to two charges of having intercourse with girls aged 14-16, as well as two counts of indecent assault. Hall was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

Yet despite the convictions, Hall has qualified as a candidate in the Catholic school board election. CKOM reports the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools confirmed Monday morning that they were aware of Hall’s conviction, but that Hall met all the rules to become a candidate.

Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools Communications Consultant Derrick Kunz told CKOM that Hall is still confirmed to attend an all-candidates forum at E.D. Freehan High School scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday.

To qualify for a seat on the Saskatoon Catholic school board one must be a Catholic who is also a Canadian of legal age who has lived in the school division for at least 3 months and in Saskatchewan for 6 months.

Apparently, being a convicted pedophile does not disqualify one from being a member of the Catholic school board.

CBC News reports church officials say they will ask Hall to withdraw from the Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools race, but will not force him off the ballot.

Commenting on Hall’s candidacy, Father Kevin McGee, acting administrator for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon, said:

Mr. Hall has met the legal qualifications to run as a candidate. We trust in the electoral process and the wisdom of the electorate.

Father McGee also said:

I have reason for serious concern that Denis is not suited for this position.

Serious concern? Is that the best the church can do? Really?

Blake Sittler, who oversees the church’s “safe environment” policy, also expressed his concern:

We’ve been working hard over the last 15 years to rebuild trust in the general community. So we are obliged to discern very carefully situations like this.

Rebuild trust? There is no reason any community should trust the Catholic Church. In fact, the abysmal failure of the Catholic Church to protect children from pedophiles is well documented.

Indeed, the church has demonstrated over and over again that they will not protect children from pedophiles. Instead, the church has the sad but well-deserved reputation of protecting pedophiles from criminal prosecution.

And, as always, when it comes to the Catholic Church, it is the children who suffer.

Denis Robert Hall (Image via Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools)
Denis Robert Hall (Image via Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools)
June 24, 2016

In recognition of a problem, the Montreal Catholic archdiocese forbids priests from being alone with children.

In an attempt to foster  a “healthy and safe environment” in its churches, the Roman Catholic archdiocese of Montreal has announced new guidelines to ensure priests and lay workers are never alone with children.

Archbishop of Montreal Christian Lépine says he will create a new bureau in the diocese called the “Service of Responsible Pastoral Ministry,” which will be tasked with rolling out the new policy.

The move is an admission that the Catholic Church has failed to protect children from sexual abuse by clergy members for decades if not centuries.

Announcing the new policy earlier this week, Christian Lépine, archbishop of Montreal, wrote the following in a message to the faithful:

Recent events have brought to light the horrific reality of abuse of minors and vulnerable persons by members of the Church.

These intolerable situations have shocked and shaken the Universal Church as well as the entire population to whom we wish to proclaim the Good News of Christ.

Better late than never, but still, very late.

François Sarrazin, chancellor of the archdiocese, said the measures are intended to send a message:

People who work in churches, if they hope to hide to commit acts of pedophilia, these people have no place in the service of the church.

Sarrazin continued:

Simple human prudence dictates that you don’t remain alone with a child.

The fact that it is 2016 and the Catholic Church is only now finally deciding to exercise “simple human prudence” when it comes to children’s safety is itself a damning statement that hints at the profound moral corruption that continues to fester in the heart of the church.  

Critics of the Catholic Church were not impressed by the new policy.

Carlo Tarini, representing survivors of abuse by priests, said the move was “too little, too late,” while observing that the church was simply trying to protect itself from legal action.

Echoing the sentiment, David Clohessy of the US-based Snap (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests) dismissed the policy as “window dressing,” noting:

The single most effective step would be to publicly disclose and discipline every cleric who committed or concealed child sex crimes. That immediately protects children.

The critics are right. Feeble attempts at better public relations and “window dressing” does not alter the tragic reality that children continue to be sexually abused by Catholic clergy around the world. In fact, a recent investigation found that the Catholic Church is surreptitiously shipping suspected pedophile priests to poor parishes in South America.

According to reports, the Catholic Church has allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children in the United States and Europe to relocate to poor parishes located in South American countries like Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Peru.

Bottom line: Anything to address and acknowledge the Catholic Church’s abysmal failure to protect children from pedophile priests is a step in the right direction. And as far as it goes, this is good news for kids in Montreal who are currently being indoctrinated into the Catholic Church.

However, a wiser, and more humane course of action would be to simply keep children away from priests and others desiring to seduce and indoctrinate individuals with religious superstition until those children are old enough to think for themselves.

 

Interior of Roman Catholic Church (Image via Wikipedia)
Interior of Roman Catholic Church (Image via Wikipedia)
January 8, 2016

Blaming the victim: A Catholic archbishop tells his congregation that the root cause of domestic violence is a woman’s disobedience to her husband.

Speaking to his congregation in Toledo, Spain, Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez said that wives could escape being physically abused by not being disobedient and by not asking their husbands for a divorce.

Rodriguez, who is the Archbishop of Toledo, spoke to his congregation about relationships at a sermon held in Toledo Cathedral on December 27.

In addition to blaming women for domestic violence, the archbishop criticised “false marriages” and “quickie divorces.”

Rodriguez said:

The majority of cases of domestic violence happen because the woman’s partner does not accept them, or rejects them for not accepting their demands.

Referring to domestic violence as a “macho reaction” the archbishop added:

… often the macho reaction comes about because she (the wife) asked for a separation.

(Note: there is nothing “macho” or masculine about domestic abuse. Such behavior is the antithesis of masculine, and reflects a deficit in both character and intellect.)

As one might expect, reaction to the Archbishop’s unjustifiable justification for domestic violence has been one of outrage and anger.

In Spain, the archbishop has been accused of “inciting violence” and thousands of furious Spanish women have taken to social media to slam the misogynistic cleric.

One wrote:

The archbishop of Toledo has linked domestic violence to couples not being in a ‘proper marriage’. So says the celibate man who believes in a ghost.

Another added:

He should be locked up for inciting violence. This idiot should keep his medieval views to himself.

The Huffington Post reports that the archbishop has refused to comment on the criticism. In addition, Father Thomas Rosica, an English-language spokesman for the Vatican, declined to comment on the offensive remarks.

In 2015, 56 women were killed in Spain because of domestic violence, and more than one million cases of domestic violence have been dealt with by the Spanish courts since 2007.

 Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez Plaza (Image via Wikimedia)
Archbishop Braulio Rodriguez Plaza (Image via Wikimedia)

 

September 17, 2015

A year long investigation finds the Catholic Church is surreptitiously sending suspected pedophile priests to poor parishes in South America.

A recently released investigative report from the GlobalPost finds the Catholic Church has allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children in the United States and Europe to relocate to poor parishes located in South American countries like Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Peru.

In their year long investigation reporters for GlobalPost confronted five priests who had been transferred to South American countries after being accused of raping or sexually assaulting children.  

GlobalPost reports that all five priests were able to continue working as priests, despite criminal investigations or cash payouts to alleged victims. All enjoyed the privilege, respect and unfettered access to young people that comes with being a member of the clergy.

More from the disturbing report:

The priests GlobalPost confronted on camera, far from the US and European churches where the sexual abuse allegations occurred, include:

  • Father Carlos Urrutigoity, accused of sharing beds with and fondling teenage boys in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The bishop of Scranton called him a “serious threat to young people,” but in Paraguay, reporters found him leading Mass in a major church. He had been promoted to second-in-command of the diocese of Ciudad del Este.

  • Father Francisco “Fredy” Montero, accused of abusing a 4-year-old girl in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He relocated to his native Ecuador, where he was placed in a succession of remote parishes — despite a dossier sent by the Archdiocese of Minneapolis to his new diocese, warning of Montero’s past.

  • Father Paul Madden, who admitted molesting a 13-year-old boy on a mission trip when he was stationed in Jackson, Mississippi. The diocese paid the victim’s family $50,000 and Madden moved to the diocese of Chimbote, Peru, where he still celebrates Mass each week.

  • Father Jan Van Dael, accused of molesting several young men in his native Belgium before moving to northeastern Brazil, where he started an orphanage for street kids. Van Dael is under investigation by Belgian and Brazilian authorities after accusations of abuse arose in Brazil, too.

Commenting on the disturbing story, David Clohessy, spokesman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said:

As developed countries find it tougher to keep predator priests on the job, bishops are increasingly moving them to the developing world where there’s less vigorous law enforcement, less independent media and a greater power differential between priests and parishioners. This is massive, and my suspicion is that it’s becoming more and more pronounced.

In short, despite pledges from Pope Francis to clean up the church, the horror continues, and the Catholic Church continues to protect and enable clergy members who rape and sexually abuse children.

It is no secret that Catholic priests have been sexually abusing children for decades, if not centuries. This most recent report only serves to confirm what many already suspected: nothing has changed – the Catholic Church continues to protect and enable pedophile priests.  

As always, it is the children who will suffer.

Watch the report via GlobalPost below:

(Image via Facebook)
(Image via Facebook)
September 15, 2015

A Catholic Bishop based in New York is in hot water after testifying that the victims of child molesting priests are partly to blame for being raped and sexually assaulted.

Calls for Bishop Robert Cunningham to step down are growing louder after it was revealed the bishop testified in a sworn deposition that in the eyes of the church a child molested by a priest has committed a sin, claiming about one such victim:

The boy is culpable.

In the deposition, Cunningham not only said,”the boy (the victim) is culpable,” he also referred to victims as “accomplices.”

Bishop Cunningham made his odious claims in a 2011 deposition responding to a federal lawsuit filed by a man who said a priest in the Syracuse diocese sexually abused him as a child.

However, the despicable claims were only made public earlier this month.

In response to the negative publicity, and the loud calls for his resignation, Bishop Cunningham is attempting to distance himself from his horrific remarks.

In a letter issued earlier this week, Bishop Cunningham tried to reassure his “brothers and sisters in Christ” that he is not the moral monster he appears to be. Cunningham writes:

Victims of abuse are never at fault!

Bishop Cunningham goes on to offer some rather tepid and unconvincing excuses for why he gave sworn testimony that child victims are to blame for being sexually assaulted by priests, and why such victims should be considered as “accomplices” in the rape and sexual abuse they suffered at the hands of Catholic clergy.

Commenting on the story, David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said:

Blaming a victim of childhood sexual violence for his or her trauma is among the most inhumane things I can imagine a person saying, especially a well-educated man like a bishop.

Clohessy added:

It’s important to remember that a deposition remarks are the opposite of off-handed remarks. Cunningham chose his words carefully. That makes his callousness even more alarming.

At this point in time, nothing that members of the Catholic clergy say or do should come as a surprise. The litany of horrors committed, enabled, and excused by Catholic clergy members would fill volumes.

And, as always, it is the children that suffer.

(Image via Patheos)
(Image via Patheos)

 

March 18, 2015

Heartless, shocking, inhumane abuse: Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the principal church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, is using a watering system to drench the homeless while they sleep in the cathedral’s doorways.

In a most uncharitable and mean-spirited move, Saint Mary’s Cathedral has installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the doorways of the church.

KCBS reports that at the cathedral there are four tall side doors, with sheltered alcoves, that attract homeless people at night.

While there are some “No Trespassing” signs posted at the church, there are no signs warning the homeless that at various times throughout the night water pours from the ceiling of the alcoves, drenching anyone in them.

According to the KCBS report, the shower runs for about 75 seconds, every 30 to 60 minutes simultaneously in all four doorways, from sunset to sunrise. KCBS witnessed it soak homeless people, and their belongings.

Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homeless said:

It’s very shocking, and very inhumane. There’s not really another way to describe it. Certainly not formed on the basis of Catholic teachings.

A homeless person named Robert told KCBS that people continued to risk their own health by sleeping under the shower, explaining:

We’re going to be wet there all night, so hypothermia, cold, all that other stuff could set in. Keeping the church clean, but it could make people sick.

In addition to the inhumanity and immorality of the practice, KCBS also reports that the the system was installed illegally, and may violate water use regulations.

Cathedral staff confirmed that the system had been in place for about a year, and that it was intended to discourage homeless people from seeking shelter in the church’s doorway.

An obtuse Archdiocese spokesperson, Chris Lyford, said:

We do the best we can, and supporting the dignity of each person. But there is only so much you can do.

Since when is hosing down the homeless while they try to sleep “supporting the dignity of each person”? What kind of moral monster thinks that this sort of deliberate and cruel abuse is a good idea? Is this what they call “Christian love”?

Once again, the Catholic Church fails the test of simple human decency in a stunning and morally repugnant fashion.

(H/T KCBS)

Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Assumption, San Francisco

August 5, 2014

WTF? On Sunday Catholics attending Mass at a Louisiana church gave a priest accused of raping boys a standing ovation.

Father Gilbert Dutel received a standing ovation from his church despite new details being released about Dutel’s sexual abuse of children. Members of the St. Edmond’s Catholic Church cheered Dutel after he made a statement in which he denied the new accusations and reports of sexual abuse recently made public by Minnesota Public Radio.

The following is an excerpt from that statement:

“First, let me state emphatically that any alleged incident being reported that took place some 30 plus years ago is false. Let me assure you that I have not been a threat to young people in this parish or any other parish in which I have served as a priest or anywhere else. I regret deeply the embarrassment and heart-ache that all of this may have caused.”

While Father Dutel denies raping and sexually abusing children, his former superior says Dutel was “cured” of his desire to rape and molest young boys.

A report on pedophile priests released by Minnesota Public Radio last month included a never-before-published affidavit, which had been sealed by a federal judge in 1995. The document indicated that Father Gilbert Dutel “had been accused of coercing young adult men into having sex.”

According to an affidavit a victim recalled being abused by Father Dutel:

“Well, he would just put his arms around me and he was I guess trying to be consoling, kind of gentle and then he just started playing with me and he unzipped my pants. He performed oral sex on me.”

The victim, a 9-year-old boy at the time, said that he had around eight sexual encounters with Dutel in total.

In another sworn affidavit, Abbeville attorney Anthony Fontana said that in 1987 he started hearing “certain allegations” of Dutel having sexual relations with boys, and had a discussion with Bishop Harry Flynn of the Diocese of Lafayette.

Fontana said that after the allegation surfaced, Dutel was reassigned to another parish instead of being suspended.  In the sworn statement, Fontana said:

“When I complained to Bishop Flynn about the failure to remove Father Dutel and the need to protect parishioners from him, Bishop Flynn justified his action on the basis of the drastic shortage of priests that the diocese was facing and the fact that he was told that Father Dutel was cured.”

The Minnesota Public Radio report released by Minnesota Public Radio confirms Bishop Harry Flynn told lawyers that Dutel had been “cured,” and that the diocese needed to keep him due to a shortage of priests.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that in the 22 years since one of Dutel’s victims came forward, Dutel has worked in several elementary schools, and had a playground named after him.

The atrocities continue, and loyal Catholics cheer a pedophile priest.

“Religion is an insult to human dignity. Without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things.

But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”

Steven Weinberg

Father Gilbert Dutel
July 19, 2014

Rock icon Tom Petty is taking on the Catholic Church for allowing generations of pedophile priests to rape and abuse young children.

This week’s Billboard cover story features Tom Petty, who opens up about his new album  ‘Hypnotic Eye,’ and in particular the track ‘Playing Dumb,’ which blasts the Catholic Church for protecting and enabling pedophile priests.

Petty rails against the Catholic Church in ‘Playing Dumb,’ which appears as a bonus track on the vinyl version of ‘Hypnotic Eye.’

The song addresses the victims of sexual abuse at the hands of the Catholic clergy and criticizes the Catholic Church for shielding and hiding pedophile priests.

Petty told Billboard, his issue isn’t with rank-and-file Catholics, but rather with the long-running child sex abuse scandals that has rocked the church, and the attempt by church hierarchy to minimize and hide the scandal:

“I’m fine with whatever religion you want to have, but it can’t tell anybody it’s OK to kill people, and it can’t abuse children systematically for God knows how many years…”

Petty blasts the church, saying:

“If I was in a club, and I found out that there had been generations of people abusing children, and then that club was covering that up, I would quit the club. And I wouldn’t give them any more money.”

‘Hypnotic Eye’ will be released July 29. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers will begin a two-month tour of North America on Aug. 3.

March 5, 2014

Liar or a fool? Pope Francis is defending the appalling record of the Catholic Church concerning the rape and sexual abuse of children by priests, claiming the church has moved with “transparency and responsibility” on the matter.

Transparency and responsibility? Is he serious? The Catholic church has been neither transparent nor responsible in their handling of the rampant sexual abuse of children by pedophile priests. To claim otherwise is ludicrous.

In fact, according to a scathing report issued by the United Nations, the Vatican, under the watchful eye of Pope Francis, continues to protect and enable pedophile priests engaged in the sexual abuse of children.

The UN report made demands that the Vatican “immediately remove” all clergy who are known or suspected child abusers, and turn them over to government authorities for criminal prosecution. Demands Pope Francis and the Vatican continue to ignore.In so doing, Pope Francis and the Vatican continue the long and despicable tradition of protecting pedophile priests.

In the unprecedented report the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child said Catholic Church officials, including Pope Francis, had imposed a “code of silence” on clerics to prevent them from reporting the rape and sexual abuse of children by pedophile priests to police, instead moving abusers from parish to parish “in an attempt to cover up such crimes.”

The UN watchdog for children’s rights denounced the Vatican for adopting policies which allowed priests to sexually abuse thousands of children. The report expressed its “deepest concern about child sexual abuse committed by members of the Catholic churches who operate under the authority of the Holy See, with clerics having been involved in the sexual abuse of tens of thousands of children worldwide.”

The report said:

“The committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators.”

The UN report demonstrates that Pope Francis has failed to address or even acknowledge in any meaningful way the rape and sexual abuse of children by clergy.  Moreover, the report offers compelling evidence that Pope Francis, and the Vatican, continue to protect and enable pedophile priests engaged in the rape and sexual abuse of children.

Pope Francis



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