Category Archives: Separation of Church and State
With church abuse trial set to open, tensions abound
By John P. Martin
Inquirer Staff Writer
Sun, Mar. 25, 2012, 6:45 AM
The neighborhood that rings St. Jerome’s Church in Northeast Philadelphia is flush with cops and firefighters, reliable Catholics in brick homes with tidy lawns, backyard slides, and a few front-door crucifixes.
That was the backdrop last year for one of the more sordid clergy sex-abuse allegations to emerge in years. A grand jury report described a 10-year-old altar boy being confronted in St. Jerome’s sacristy after Mass, ordered to strip, and engage in sex.
Not once, but three times – by two different priests – over a year in the late 1990s.
On Monday, a Philadelphia jury is scheduled to start hearing about those accusations and one that looms larger: that leaders of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia could have predicted, or prevented, the attacks but instead followed a long-held practice of protecting the church and abusers within it.
The trial of Msgr. William J. Lynn, who for 12 years led the office that recommended priests’ assignments and monitored their conduct, marks the first in the nation for a church supervisor accused of covering up child sex abuse.
His arrest last year on child-endangerment charges, along with two priests and one defrocked cleric accused of molesting boys in the 1990s, stirred fresh outrage among Catholics and led officials of the 1.5 million-member archdiocese to suspend 26 priests, reexamine past claims, and vow to institute its second wave of reforms in six years.
The case has stoked national interest not because of who Lynn is but what his trial signifies. As hundreds of priests worldwide have been accused or convicted of molesting children, church leaders have consistently avoided prosecution, casting the crisis as an individual epidemic, not an institutional one.
Late last week, an eleventh-hour guilty plea from one of the defendants threatened to upend the trial. Defrocked priest Edward V. Avery admitted that he sexually assaulted the St. Jerome’s boy in 1999 and that he conspired with Lynn and others to endanger minors.
Avery is not cooperating with prosecutors, but lawyers for Lynn and the third defendant, the Rev. James J. Brennan, said widespread publicity about the plea might have tainted the jury. Common Pleas Court Judge M. Teresa Sarmina said she will rule Monday on their request for a delay to pick a new jury.
If it does go forward, the trial promises more, and potentially more jarring, revelations for Catholics, with implications beyond one cleric or one diocese.
The prospective witness list includes a deceased cardinal, Anthony J. Bevilacqua, forced from a reclusive retirement for a videotaped interrogation weeks before his death; two former Philadelphia bishops implicated in the shredding of an incriminating memo; and two men who say they were plunged into years of drug abuse and crime after being raped as boys by their parish priests.
Jurors are likely to hear a drumbeat of testimony about clerics molesting children and could see thousands of pages of never-released documents about their sexual misconduct, including personnel records so sensitive that they were locked away for years in filing cabinets known as “the secret archives.”
For more than a decade, Lynn was the keeper of those files and a key officer in the local church hierarchy. Now 61, he was suspended last year from St. Joseph Church in Downingtown, where he was pastor. A guilty verdict could mean years in prison and a victory for those who have faulted the church’s handling of sex-abuse allegations.
“Did a lot of bishops do very stupid things for which they should have been held accountable and they were not held accountable? Yes, absolutely,” said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a scholar at Georgetown University’s Woodstock Theological Center. “Now this is a chance again to send the church, to send the bishops, a message by prosecuting somebody.”
Lynn’s lawyers have used the same theory to argue his innocence. They say the monsignor was a middle manager unfairly “hung out to dry” by prosecutors eager to blame someone for years of unchecked abuse and by bosses who scrambled, or flat-out lied, to save themselves. They say an objective review shows Lynn used “good judgment” and tried to isolate abusers from children.
Bound by a gag order, the attorneys, Thomas Bergstrom and Jeffrey Lindy, have not outlined their trial strategy or said if Lynn will testify. But at one pretrial hearing, Lindy assured the judge: “Monsignor Lynn has a story to tell.”
Simply that a trial is taking place might be more significant than its outcome, said Patrick Wall, a former priest turned lawyer and victims advocate.
Since Lynn’s arrest, prosecutors in seven jurisdictions from California to New York have started exploring charges against priests’ superiors, according to Wall.
“Any time I’ve talked to a prosecutor and I’ve brought up Philadelphia, it gives them greater moral authority to do this,” he said. “Because most D.A.s were afraid to take on the Catholic Church.”
The trial comes seven years after another Philadelphia grand jury delivered a searing 418-page report that faulted archdiocesan leaders for their handling of sex-abuse claims. But that panel said it was hamstrung by laws that limited who could be charged and required sex crimes to be reported within a few years of occurring, despite advocates’ assertions that victims often wait decades to come forward.
For the latest investigation, District Attorney Seth Williams relied on an expanded statute of limitations and a 2007 amendment that made supervisors in child-care settings criminally culpable for abuse.
Lynn, the subject of withering criticism by the previous grand jury, became the primary target of the next one. “We believe that legal accountability for Msgr. Lynn’s unconscionable behavior is long overdue,” its report said.
While secretary for clergy between 1992 and 2004, prosecutors say, Lynn endangered children by recommending abusive priests for assignments that gave them access to children. They built their case around claims by two accusers, and with help from the archdiocese itself.
In January 2009, church officials forwarded to prosecutors a complaint that its victims’ assistance office received from the former St. Jerome’s altar boy. He was in the fifth grade in 1998, he said, when the Rev. Charles Engelhardt caught him drinking wine in the sacristy, began talking about sex, and told the boy they would soon have “sessions” on how to be a man. Engelhardt assaulted him a week later, he said.
The boy kept silent, but the cleric might not have. Prosecutors say Avery, who also lived at the parish, told the boy months later that he had heard about the “sessions” with Engelhardt and planned his own. Twice, Avery allegedly molested the boy in the church.
According to the grand jury, Lynn knew Avery had been removed from a Mount Airy parish over a sex-abuse allegation in 1992 and sent for treatment at St. John Vianney, a church-owned hospital. Prosecutors say the monsignor had recommended that Avery live at St. Jerome’s and work at nearby Nazareth Hospital, and was supposed to be monitoring Avery.
Now 69, Avery was defrocked in 2006. At least two more accusers have come forward since his arrest and could testify at the trial.
Engelhardt, 65, who belongs to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, an independent religious order, faces a separate trial. So does Bernard Shero, a 49-year-old former teacher at St. Jerome’s parish school accused of raping the same boy a year after the priests. Both argued they could not be part of an archdiocese conspiracy because they weren’t under Lynn’s supervision.
Brennan, 49, is charged with raping a 14-year-old boy while on leave from the archdiocese in 1996. Brennan allegedly targeted the boy after meeting him when both were at St. Andrew’s Church in Newtown, Bucks County. Prosecutors say the assault occurred after Lynn failed to act on complaints about Brennan’s misconduct with minors.
Defense lawyers are expected to hammer at the alleged victims’ accounts. The accusers, whose names are being withheld by The Inquirer, have histories of drug use, petty crime, and mental-health treatment. Both also have lawsuits pending against the archdiocese.
Brennan’s lawyer, William Brennan, who is unrelated, said Friday that his accuser had convictions for fraud, forgery, and theft – including stealing from his own family.
Lynn’s attorneys have targeted the law. In one of their many bids to derail the charges, and one that could seed an appeal, they contended Lynn can’t be guilty of endangering children in the 1990s because the statute didn’t apply to supervisors like him until 2007.
They also have challenged a pivotal February ruling by Sarmina, the judge, who said prosecutors can tell jurors about nearly two dozen other archdiocesan priests accused of sexual abuse over the last 40 years.
None of the others is charged in the case. But prosecutors, led by Assistant District Attorneys Patrick Blessington and Mariana Sorensen, have maintained that jurors can’t properly weigh Lynn’s recommendations for Avery and Brennan without considering what he and other church leaders knew – and how they reacted to other complaints.
“It’s always been our position that this was an archdiocese-wide policy, which in and of itself was criminal in nature,” Blessington said.
The archdiocese is paying for Lynn’s defense team of four lawyers because the accusations involve his job. Still, it is not clear if the church’s and the monsignor’s interests coincide or conflict.
Last week, Lynn’s lawyers said the archdiocese had refused to turn over decade-old letters that they said could show its lawyers guided church policy and Lynn’s decisions on sex-abuse allegations.
The defense team also pounced on what it portrayed as the closest thing to a smoking gun in the case: notes found in a locked safe that suggest Bevilacqua ordered aides in 1994 to shred a memo identifying 35 area priests suspected of sexual misconduct.
The lawyers say the memo, written by Lynn, proves that his bosses – the cardinal and his top assistants, Bishops Edward Cullen and Joseph Cistone – lied when they told grand jurors that Lynn made the key decisions about what to do with predatory priests.
Bevilacqua, who ran the archdiocese from 1988 until 2003, died in January after years of failing health. Still, he could be a crucial witness. In November, Sarmina ruled him competent to testify, and let lawyers grill him for seven hours during a private deposition that jurors might see.
In court filings, Lynn’s attorneys portrayed the prelate as a weary, sometimes confused witness. But he also is said to have clearly denied any wrongdoing and instead implicated his former secretary for clergy.
With white hair, glasses, and a stout frame, Lynn has been the only defendant to attend nearly all the pretrial proceedings. He typically comes with his sister, with whom he has lived since being suspended. While Avery and Brennan occasionally chat or joke with their lawyers, Lynn’s somber visage almost never changes.
His last public comments on the scandal came after the 2005 grand jury report, one that cited him hundreds of times, usually in a critical way. “I would never put a child in harm’s way,” Lynn told his parishioners from the altar. “I’m going to leave that to your judgment.”
Last September, six months after his arrest, Lynn drew a standing ovation during a dinner that the archdiocese’s newly installed leader, Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, hosted for priests. That same month, Chaput told an interviewer: “It’s really important to me, and I think to all of us, that he be treated fairly and that he not be a scapegoat.”
Lynn does evoke a certain amount of compassion in church circles, according to Nicholas Cafardi, a canon lawyer in Pittsburgh and author of a book about the U.S. bishops’ response to clergy sex abuse. “My read of the compassion is basically, ‘He did what he was asked to do, or what he was told to do.’ ”
Still, Cafardi said, the monsignor faces long odds of getting compassion from a jury. “There is no sympathy,” he said, “for the person in the dock in child-abuse cases.”
Stakes are high for church as ‘failure to report’ case unfolds against Kansas City bishop
KANSAS CITY (MO)
March 25, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The charge is only a misdemeanor, but if prosecutors are able to win a conviction against Kansas City Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Finn, they could be opening up a whole new front in the national priest abuse crisis.
Finn is accused of violating Missouri’s mandatory reporter law by failing to tell state officials about hundreds of images of suspected child pornography found on the computer of a priest in his diocese.
Experts say a criminal conviction against Finn, the highest-ranking church official charged with shielding an abusive priest, could embolden prosecutors elsewhere to more aggressively pursue members of the church hierarchy who try to protect offending clergy.
“Cases can sit like land mines in files for a long time and suddenly come to light,” said Matthew Bunson, a senior fellow at the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology and co-author of a book, “Pope Benedict XVI and the Sexual Abuse Crisis: Working for Reform and Renewal.” ‘’Those cases may ultimately involve leaders in the church.”
Finn and the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph each were charged last year with one count of failing to report. The case involves the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, who remains jailed on state and federal charges accusing him of producing and possessing child pornography. Both have pleaded not guilty, and a judge is scheduled to hear multiple motions in the case Tuesday, including one to dismiss the charges.
“We do not believe that either the facts or the law support a finding of guilt on the misdemeanor charges, and we look forward to a just and fair resolution of them,” the diocese told The Associated Press in an e-mailed statement.
Finn has acknowledged being told in December 2010 about hundreds of photographs of young children found on Ratigan’s laptop computer. Many of the photos focused on the crotch areas of young children who are clothed, though one series showed the exposed genitals of a girl thought to be 3 or 4 years old.
The bishop also has acknowledged that a parish principal warned the diocese of suspicious behavior by Ratigan, including that he was taking compromising pictures of children and let them sit on his lap and reach into his pocket for candy. Those warnings occured more than six months before the photos were found.
Instead of ordering the photos to be turned over to police, or telling the Missouri Children’s Division about them, Finn sent Ratigan out of state for a psychiatric evaluation. When Ratigan returned to Missouri, Finn sent him to the Sisters of St. Francis of the Holy Eucharist, where he would say Mass for the sisters and be away from children.
Only after the church received reports that Ratigan had violated orders from the diocese to stay away from children did the diocese turn over to police last May a disk containing the photos from Ratigan’s computer.
“From the church’s perspective, having your bishop declared a criminal is a big deal, even if it’s only a misdemeanor,” said Douglas Laycock, a religious liberty specialist at the University of Virginia School of Law. “For them, it’s not about the fine, it’s about the statement being made.”
The maximum sentence for the crime is a $1,000 fine and one year in jail, but there’s little chance the bishop would be put behind bars. Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said some people thought she shouldn’t have filed the charge against Finn, while others thought the charge should have been more serious.
“The prosecutor is not in the business of pleasing people,” she said.
Finn told a grand jury he thought Vicar General Robert Murphy was the diocese’s designated reporter. Murphy testified that even though he was head of a team formed to respond to claims of child sex abuse by priests, he had never been trained on being the mandatory reporter, nor officially assigned that duty.
Separation of church and state also is a significant issue for the church, Laycock said.
“Say a bishop has to report to police everything he knows about a priest under his supervision,” Laycock said. “If child abuse is involved, it may be a sensible and constitutional law. But it certainly intrudes on the supervisory relationship of a bishop and priest.”
Tuesday’s motions hearing comes a day after the trial begins in Philadelphia in a case involving Monsignor William Lynn, the first U.S. church official charged with child endangerment for keeping accused priests in the ministry.
Terry McKiernan of BishopAccountability.org, which manages a public database of records on clergy abuse cases, said the two cases represent a shift toward holding the Catholic Church hierarchy legally accountable for failing to warn parents or police about abusive priests.
“There’s been a lot of attention directed against the Ratigans of the world, but not a lot of attention until recently on the Finns of the world,” McKiernan said. “That’s what makes the church very nervous. It will be devastating for the church if the attention is directed at people like that.”
This story comes from the following link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/sep/11/pope-vatican-abuse-geoffrey-robertson
The Case of the Pope: Vatican Accountability for Human Rights Abuses by Geoffrey Robertson
Terry Eagleton welcomes a coolly devastating inquiry into the Vatican’s handling of child abuse
The first child sex scandal in the Catholic church took place in AD153, long before there was a “gay culture” or Jewish journalists for bishops to blame it on. By the 1960s, the problem had become so dire that a cleric responsible for the care of “erring” priests wrote to the Vatican suggesting that it acquire a Caribbean island to put them on.
What has made a bad situation worse, as the eminent QC Geoffrey Robertson argues in this coolly devastating inquiry, is canon law – the church’s own arcane, highly secretive legal system, which deals with alleged child abusers in a dismayingly mild manner rather than handing them over to the police. Its “penalties” for raping children include such draconian measures as warnings, rebukes, extra prayers, counselling and a few months on retreat. It is even possible to interpret canon law as claiming that a valid defence for paedophile offences is paedophilia. Since child abusers are supposedly incapable of controlling their sexual urges, this can be used in their defence. It is rather like pleading not guilty to stealing from Tesco’s on the grounds that one is a shoplifter. One blindingly simple reason for the huge amount of child abuse in the Catholic church (on one estimate, up to 9% of clerics are implicated) is that the perpetrators know they will almost certainly get away with it.
For almost a quarter of a century, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the man who is now Pope, was in supreme command of this parallel system of justice – a system deliberately hidden from the public, police and parliaments and run, so Robertson maintains, in defiance of international law. Those who imagine that the Vatican has recently agreed to cooperate with the police, he points out, have simply fallen for one of its cynical public relations exercises. In the so-called “New Norms” published by Pope Benedict this year, there is still no instruction to report suspected offenders to the civil authorities, and attempting to ordain a woman is deemed to be as serious an offence as sodomising a child. There have, however, been some changes: victims of child abuse are now allowed to report the matter up to the age of 38 rather than 28. If you happen to be 39, that’s just tough luck. As Robertson wryly comments, Jesus declares that child molesters deserve to be drowned in the depths of the sea, not hidden in the depths of the Holy See.
How can Ratzinger get away with it? One mightily important reason, examined in detail in this book, is because he is supposedly a head of state. The Vatican describes itself on its website as an “absolute monarchy”, which means that the Pope is immune from being sued or prosecuted. It also means that as the only body in the world with “non-member state” status at the UN, the Catholic church has a global platform for pursuing its goals of diminishing women, demonising homosexuals, obstructing the use of condoms to prevent Aids and refusing to allow abortion even to save the life of the mother. For these purposes, it is sometimes to be found in unholy alliance with states such as Libya and Iran. Neither is it slow to use veiled threats of excommunication to bend Catholic politicians throughout the world to its will. If Pope Benedict were to air some of his troglodytic views with full public force, Robertson suggests, the Home Office would have been forced to refuse him entry into Britain.
In fact, he argues, the Vatican’s claim to statehood is bogus. It dates from a treaty established between Mussolini and the Holy See, which Robertson believes has no basis in international law. The Vatican has no permanent population, which is a legal requirement of being a state. In fact, since almost all its inhabitants are celibate, it cannot propagate citizens at all other than by unfortunate accident. It is not really a territory, has no jurisdiction over crimes committed in its precincts and depends for all its essential services on the neighbouring nation of Italy. Nor does it field a team in the World Cup, surely the most convincing sign of its phoniness.
“Petty gossip” is how the Pope has described irrefutable evidence of serious crimes. His time as the Vatican official in charge of overseeing priestly discipline was the period when, in Robertson’s furiously eloquent words, “tens of thousands of children were bewitched, buggered and bewildered by Catholic priests whilst [Ratzinger’s] attention was fixated on ‘evil’ homosexuals, sinful divorcees, deviate liberation theologians, planners of families and wearers of condoms”.
Can he be brought to book for this? As a widespread and systematic practice, clerical sexual abuse could be considered a crime against humanity, such crimes not being confined to times of war; and though Ratzinger may claim immunity as a head of state, he is also a German citizen. The book comes to no firm conclusion here, but the possibility of convicting the supreme pontiff of aiding and abetting the international crime of systemic child abuse seems not out of the question. The Vatican, in any case, is unlikely to escape such a fate by arguing, as it has done already, that the relations between the Pope and his bishops are of such unfathomable theological complexity that no mere human court could ever hope to grasp them.
This is a book that combines moral passion with steely forensic precision, enlivened with the odd flash of dry wit. With admirable judiciousness, it even finds it in its heart to praise the charitable work of the Catholic church, as well as reminding us that paedophiles (whom Robertson has defended in court) can be kindly men. It is one of the most formidable demolition jobs one could imagine on a man who has done more to discredit the cause of religion than Rasputin and Pat Robertson put together.
SNAP: Survivors Network for those Abused by Priest has come under a hardball attack by the Roman Catholic Church and it’s Perverted Pimps and Leaders.
Bishops reportedly approved new “hardball” strategy v. SNAP
- Bishops reportedly approved new “hardball” strategy v. SNAP
- Group tells top church officials: “Go after predators, not victims”
- It begs Catholics and citizens for help in fighting “unprecedented attacks”
- And it urges St. Louis archbishop to “come clean” about who’s behind the moves
Holding signs and childhood photos at a sidewalk news conference, clergy sex abuse victims and their supporters will respond to a new page one New York Times story today and will urge St. Louis’ archbishop to:
–stop demanding the private e mails of a teenaged St. Louis child sex crime victim,
–apologize for and explain his decision to make this “intimidating” move, and
–disclose which bishops may have discussed or approved a new church “hardball” legal strategy.
They will also beg parishioners and the public to
–contact Catholic officials and insist that they stop and/or denounce this legal tactics, and
–use their time, energy, and donations to help the support group “fight the legal attacks.”
Today, Tuesday, March 13, 2:00 p.m.
Outside archdiocesan chancery office, 4445 Lindell (near Sarah) in St. Louis MO
Two-four clergy sex abuse victims who belong to a confidential support group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPnetwork.org) including the organization’s long time director
A page one New York Times story today details what victims and their advocates are calling an unprecedented attacks” by Missouri Catholic officials to “intimidate child sex abuse victims, witnesses, whistleblowers and those who help them” by seeking subpoenas and massive amounts of private communications between victims and a support group.
It quotes the head of the NY-based Catholic League as suggesting that several bishops have decided to “come together collectively” to “better toughen up” (However, the US bishops’ official public relations staffer denies this.)
In St. Louis, archdiocesan lawyers are demanding that SNAP turn over perhaps hundreds of pages of the group’s confidential records, including emails to and from a now 19 year old who was repeatedly raped nine years ago by a priest. And in Kansas City, church lawyers and demanding private communications going back 23 years, even from now-deceased individuals who never set foot in KC and who had no knowledge of or role in clergy sex cases there.
The demands, SNAP says, are “invasive, chilling, and designed to discourage victims, witnesses, whistleblowers, police, prosecutors and journalists” from contacting the group for help. They are also costing SNAP tens of thousands of dollars and “causing severe financial hardship” to the group. So SNAP is begging the public and parishioners to “use their resources, clout, voices and donations” to help the organization survive.
The demands arise from two civil lawsuits one called “Jane Doe v. Fr. Joseph D. Ross and the St. Louis archdiocese” and another called “John Doe BP v. Fr. Michael Tierney and the Kansas City diocese.”
The St. Louis suit charges that Ross molested a girl from 1997-2001 at St. Cronan’s Catholic church in the Grove neighborhood of St. Louis city. In 1988, Ross pled guilty to sexually assaulting an 11 year old boy. But after his sentence was completed, Catholic officials quietly put Ross at St. Cronan’s and warned no one of his criminal past. Ross worked as recently as 2002. His current whereabouts are unknown.
The Kansas City suit charges that Tierney molested a boy. At least four other accusers in separate lawsuits have come forward against Tiereny and he was suspended last year because church officials deemed some of the allegations credible.
SNAP believes that this intrusion into the private messages and writings of a child rape survivor is “unwarranted, unnecessary, and hurtful.” They are calling on the two Missouri bishops to call off these hardball tactics immediately. And they want a former St. Louisan, NYC Cardinal Timothy Dolan (who heads the US Conference of Bishops) to publicly denounce the bishops who are using this “mean-spirited” legal tactic.
The demands for document are and depositions are “firsts” in SNAP’s 23 year history. SNAP is not a party to either lawsuit.
Ross has been defrocked. In recent years, he lived in Arkansas but worked in the St. Louis area for 30+ years. Tierney is still a priest and believed to be living in Kansas City.
SNAP is holding similar events today in Washington DC(where the US Conference of Catholic Bishops is headquartered) and New York City (where Dolan, head of the USCCB, now works).
This is a letter I found online, written by James Salt, political director of Catholics United, who stands up for perverted pedophile priests and the church leaders who covered this assault and rape of children up and how he got pissed off that New Hampshire House Republican Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt wrote on his Facebook page that Manchester’s Catholic bishop, John McCormack was a “pedophile pimp” who should have been arrested and led away from the New Hampshire statehouse in handcuffs for his past involvement with the sex abuse scandal in Boston.
Salt wrote the following:
The Granite State’s Mushy Moral Compass
By James Salt, political director of Catholics United
Late last week it came to light that New Hampshire House Republican Majority Leader D.J. Bettencourt had made
outrageous and demeaning statements about Manchester’s Catholic bishop, John McCormack. Apparently,
Bettencourt had written on his Facebook page that McCormack was a “pedophile pimp” who should have been
arrested and led away from the New Hampshire statehouse in handcuffs for his past involvement with the sex
abuse scandal in Boston. Rep. Bettencourt issued these offensive comments only after Bishop McCormack had
given a speech at the statehouse where he expressed the Catholic Church’s strong support for trade unions and
its opposition to proposed budget cuts that would severely hurt the poor.
In response to Bettencourt’s behavior, Catholics United, the organization which I work for, issued a press release
calling on elected leaders in New Hampshire to distance themselves from these offensive comments and for
Bettencourt to publicly retract his statement. After receiving a torrent of criticism, Bettencourt recently
announced that he has asked for a personal meeting with Bishop McCormack, presumably to apologize in
private. Although this is a good step, it does not go far enough. Bettencourt should publicly apologize for his
outrageous behavior. Until he does so, every elected leader who serves with Bettencourt in the New Hampshire
legislature and every Presidential candidate who visits that state should be asked to publicly distance themselves
from these embarrassing comments.
To be clear: The sex abuse scandal has been a long and tragic chapter in the history of the Catholic Church. And
this sad chapter has caused untold harm to thousands of innocent victims while simultaneously driving many
Catholics away from the faith. However, the saga surrounding Majority Leader Bettencourt’s statements reveals a
disturbing inconsistency regarding the selective moral outrage of some conservative leaders.
Let me offer one example of this moral hypocrisy. During Rep. Bettencourt’s elected tenure in the New
Hampshire House he has served on the Judiciary Committee. On multiple occasions Bishop McCormack has
appeared before that committee and offered testimony in opposition to gay marriage and abortion. In response
to this testimony, Rep. Bettencourt never once raised a question about the bishop’s moral standing in the
community. It was only after the bishop chose to speak out publicly in support of trade unions and against budget
cuts in programs that aid the poor – two key progressive legislative priorities — that the bishop became an open
target for Bettencourt.
Sadly, this inconsistency is not limited to New Hampshire. It also can be found in Washington DC. During last
year’s health care reform debate, conservatives made a great deal of noise about the Catholic bishops’ opposition
Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good • 1612 K Street NW, Suite 400 • Washington, DC
Well get used to your perverted pedophile McCormack to be slammed on my blog Mr James Salt and if you think you will get me to shut my mouth against McCormack, your Papal Bullshitter Pope Benedict Arnold, Cardinal Timothy Dolan or the other leaders of your morally bankrupt and perverted Roman Catholic Church….like you are trying to shut the mouth of Rep Bettencourt, well buddy, you got another thing coming.
New Hampshire Voice of the Faithful
P.O. Box 423
Concord, NH 03302-0423January 9, 2003
Most Reverend John B. McCormack, D.D.
Diocese of Manchester
153 Ash St.
P.O. Box 310
Manchester NH 03105-0310
Dear Bishop McCormack:
The Steering Committee of New Hampshire Voice of the Faithful, representing eight chapters statewide, is deeply troubled by revelations this week of a previous bishop’s destruction of records associated with sexual abuse by a priest, and of records possibly destroyed under your own administration. A diocesan public relations spokesman said documents have not been destroyed since November 2000, leaving two years after your installation here in 1998 when such activity may have occurred. We find these disclosures alarming, since the permanent integrity of all diocesan documents going forward is a vital concern. Without the records of past sexual abuse by clergy, harmful practices endorsed less than one year ago might still be in effect today.
Given this history, we are sensitive to the implications of your agreement last month with Attorney General Philip McLaughlin that avoided criminal prosecution of the diocese. That agreement allows the destruction of the records of deceased priests accused of sexual misconduct upon the death of the accused. As the result of a recent tragedy involving the untimely death of a priest, you are now theoretically in a position to destroy his records.
We urge you to publicly pledge that the diocese will not destroy any more records associated with sexual abuse allegations against any priest, whether living or deceased. These records are a crucial archive of how the diocese has handled allegations in the past, how it is doing today, and how it will handle them in the future. We believe all these records, not just a summary of each one, should be maintained as a permanent archive. This is necessary both to provide a lasting record of the diocese’s response to these cases, and to keep them available as a resource for survivors of abuse who have not yet come forward. Such actions merely fulfill your own promise to assure the preeminence of the healing of those harmed over any other concern of the diocese (December 15, 2002 homily). We heartily support this focus and pray it will be implemented.
According to the diocese’s own numbers, released at the press conference announcing the agreement with the Attorney General, 43% of the New Hampshire diocesan priests involved in sexual abuse allegations are deceased. The diocese’s records on these priests can provide vital validation for survivors in coming to grips with the enormity of the abuse and betrayal they experienced. Ultimately, those records belong to the people of this diocese, and it is imperative that they be preserved.
The agreement with the Attorney General allows the diocese to destroy these records; it does not require that you destroy them. We ask you to immediately and publicly pledge to retain every page of every record of every priest ever accused of sexual misconduct in a permanent archive that will be an essential part of the diocese’s efforts to provide greater accountability on these cases.
We believe a strong and prompt pledge from the diocese to maintain these records will be a tremendous help in rebuilding the bridge of trust between the Church and those who are heartbroken and disillusioned by this crisis, as you yourself must be.
Peter Flood, coordinator
New Hampshire Voice of the Faithful
I hear this so many times from christians in their lies about the founding fathers. I mean have they actually ever read the words of the “Founding Fathers” on the subject of christianity and religion? I would guess most of these christian leaders who lie about the words of the Founding Fathers just never made it past second grade. Or they absolutely do not know how to read.
Yet for their clarification I have gathered many words of the “Founding Fathers” on the subject and I am now going to post them here.
Thomas Jefferson, because he was the author of the Declaration of Independence and the embodiment of our nation’s expressions of freedom, is the Founding Father who is most often claimed by the Christians as one of their own. Unfortunately– for them– he left behind many writings which lead us to conclude that his beliefs were quite different from those of the common christian. The claim that Thomas Jefferson was a Christian can only be made by someone who has never read his original writings. Christians may think that just because he mentions “god”, that makes him a Christian just like them. Jefferson absolutely believed in a god– but not the god of orthodox Christianity. He was a Deist (Nature’s God), not a Christian (the trinitarian God of Abraham and Isaac).
“Millions of innocent men, women and children, since the introduction of Christianity, have been burnt, tortured, fined, imprisoned; yet we have not advanced an inch towards uniformity. What has been the effect of coercion? To make one half the world fools, and the other half hypocrites. To support roguery and error all over the earth.” – “Notes on Virginia”
“No man shall be compelled to frequent or support any religious worship, place, or ministry whatsoever.” -Virginia Act for Religious Freedom
“Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between church and State.” -letter to Danbury Baptist Association, CT
“Christianity neither is, nor ever was, a part of the Common Law.” -letter to Dr. Thomas Cooper, 1814
“Creeds have been the bane of the Christian church … made of Christendom a slaughter-house.” – to Benjamin Waterhouse, Jun. 26, 1822
“The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs.” — Letter to James Smith, December 8, 1822
“And the day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva in the brain of Jupiter. But we may hope that the dawn of reason and freedom of thought in these United States will do away with all this artificial scaffolding, and restore to us the primitive and genuine doctrines of this the most venerated reformer of human errors.” — Jefferson’s letter to John Adams, April 11 1823
Jefferson was a rationalist. He believed that Jesus was a pure and ethical teacher of morals. To that end, Jefferson took a razor to the New Testament and removed passages he thought to have been inserted by the authors of the gospels (whom he called the “commentators”), and he pasted what remained together as “The Jefferson Bible“. With his razor blade, he removed every verse dealing with the virgin birth, miracles, resurrection, claims of Jesus’ divinity and other puerile superstition, thus leaving us with a very much shorter book. In 1904, the Jefferson Bible was printed by order of Congress, and for many years was presented to all newly elected members of that body.
His Unholiness, the Papal Bullshitter, Pope Benedict, said he wanted to do all he could to make sure the church took care of us victims. Yet he is full of shit plain and simple. He is more concerned with protecting his own damn ass and the church than he ever was protecting children from the perverted priests he has running his churches.
By his own damn words he convicts himself as one of the true perverts of the Roman Catholic Church. I am copying this report directly from http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/popersquos-child-porn-normal-claim-sparks-outrage-among-victims-15035449.html#ixzz1p7tlkhj3 and I am going to make comments as the sections go.
Victims of clerical sex abuse have reacted furiously to Pope Benedict’s claim yesterday that paedophilia wasn’t considered an “absolute evil” as recently as the 1970s.
In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.
How dare you, you sick and disgusting pervert leader of the Roman Catholic Church to claim that child pornography was considered “normal” by society. Which freaking society are YOU living in you sick and twisted pervert? I don’t know about you, but in the United States of America, you possess child pornography, YOU GO TO PRISON FOR IT, so is that normal to YOU, your Unholiness?
“In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.
This just goes to show this pope more than likely molested children himself. He protects his child molesting priests, so what makes me think, with his reasoning and his words, that he himself does not molest children? How in the hell can he even call himself a man of god when he agrees that child porn and sex between an adult and children as normal and in full conformity? You are one sick and twisted individual Pope to be saying this crap out of your pie hole.
The Pope said abuse revelations in 2010 reached “an unimaginable dimension” which brought “humiliation” on the Church.
The ONLY humiliation that has been bought on the church is us victims. You could give two shits less about the victims, your Unholiness. You only care about protecting your ass, the asses of your pedophile priests and the billions the church has. You do not care one iota about us victims of your sick and twisted priests.
Asking how abuse exploded within the Church, the Pontiff called on senior clerics “to repair as much as possible the injustices that occurred” and to help victims heal through a better presentation of the Christian message.
First off how did this abuse explode within the church? Because the leaders knew about it and they freaking hid it. When they knew a priest was sexually abusing a child, what did they do? Did they turn them into the police department for prosecution like they should have? NO. Did they defrock the priest? NO. Did they bend over backwards to help the victim? HELL NO. What they did, these marvelous church leaders, including the present perverted Papal Bullshitter Benedict, was transfer these priests to other parishes so they could continue raping and molesting other children.
The leaders fought any and all attempts to bring this to light and they did everything they could to avoid prosecution of these priests and the leaders who covered it all up. They still are doing this. Yeah for about one year when this really broke out, they worked with the victims, mostly offering them as recompense for the horrors we went through, to pay for therapy and if the victim was lucky, they got about 20 grand for their ruined lives.
N.H. is a prime example of this. There was a Bishop named McConnell who actually cared about the victims and did what he could for them. Yet the Pope and all the other officials hate these kinds of Bishops. They want them to settle with the victims as little as possible.
Yet what price do you put on the pain and suffering we victims have been through?
I know what I am demanding. $25,000.00 per year for pain and suffering for 37 years of horror and nightmares, For all the suicide attempts and my undying hatred towards the christians and the christian god. I am also demanding $15,000.00 per year for 34 years for lost wages. Plus they are going to pay my lawyers fees and any and all money paid back to Social Security and Medicaid/Medicare for all the money they spent thanks to my insanity caused by the priest raping me. I am also demanding that the Roman Catholic Church set up at least six half way houses for abused men. Abused women have all the help they can get, but abused men have no where to turn to for real help. Well the RCC is going to help me rectify this at least in the state of NH. Either they settle for what I want or I will take their sorry asses to court and let a jury award me ten times this amount.
What better presentation will be the christian message? That the Papal Bullshitter, his bishops and priests can get away with raping children, covering it up, torturing us victims with your false bullshit? I do not want to hear a better presentation of the Christian message because as far as I am concerned, your Christian message is that you are special in that you can rape children with no punishment at all and think your god and jesus christ can protect you and when you die you are going to spend an eternity in heaven???? Bullshit, Papal Bullshitter, you, your bishops and your perverted priests will burn in hell for what you did to us children.
“We cannot remain silent about the context of these times in which these events have come to light,” he said, citing the growth of child pornography “that seems in some way to be considered more and more normal by society” he said.
This month is sort of an anniversary for me, one in which I wish with all of my heart I could forget.
When I was 14 years old I ran away from an abusive foster home I was at and was taken by the police to the St Thomas Moore Church in Durham N.H. That night, the priest who was supposed to protect me from all harm raped me. That night, the sick and twisted pervert destroyed my heart, my soul, my life. He drilled into my young mind, over and over again, if I told anyone I would burn for an eternity in hell. He also told me no one would believe me in the first place. He raped me orally and anally. He raped my mind and my soul, my heart and my body for about an hour or more then cuddled with me like I was a consenting lover.
Yet, His High Unholiness the Papal Bullshitter and his freak bishops and pervert priests do not care one iota about us victims. But what do you expect from these low life perverts? These are the Papal Bullshitters very own words about child rape and pornography.
In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.
“In the 1970s, paedophilia was theorised as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.
Enough is enough. The victims of Clergy Abuse Deserve Justice. We the victims of the sick and twisted priests of the Roman Catholic Church and his High Unholiness the Perverted Papal Bullshitter Pope Benedict and his protectors need to be tossed into prison period. All statue of limitations and protections for these sick and twisted perverts should be immediately removed. They are pedophiles and perverts being protected under the Vatican being it’s own country and having it’s own rules and laws. Their laws state it is perfectly normal to rape and abuse a child. The Papal Bullshitter himself stated in one of his christmas addresses that child porno is considered normal as well as sex between an adult and a child.
So you people of the Roman Catholic Church are protecting your perverted priest and pope at the sake of your religion and at the destruction of the children eh? You RCC adherents are just as damn guilty as your priests, bishops and pope who covered this shit up. When are YOU adherents of the RCC going to DEMAND full accountability for what your priests and church leaders have done to children? Is it you just want to be ostriches and stick your heads in the sand and hope this scandal goes away and vanishes like a fart in the wind?
It is NOT gonna happen as long as victims of your perverted priests and pope such as I are still living and breathing.
In March of 1975 a priest at St Thomas Moore Church in Durham New Hampshire raped me. He destroyed my mind, heart, soul and body. My life has been a living hell since then. Now I am fighting back. I will NOT go quietly into that good night. I will fight these perverts to my last breath and I dedicate the rest of my life fighting this sick and twisted group of pedophiles and child rapists.