Category Archives: St Jerome

Los Gatos Priest Beating Case Trial Date Now Changed to June


from the link: http://losgatos.patch.com/articles/los-gatos-priest-beating-case-trial-date-now-changed-to-june

Los Gatos Priest Beating Case Trial Date Now Changed to June

Pretrial motion Friday postponed until May 3, with jury selection taking place May 14 and presentation of evidence June 19.

By Sheila Sanchez April 7, 2012

William Lynch

 

Friday’s scheduled pretrial motions in the case against a San Francisco man accused of beating a priest at the Los Gatos Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in May of 2010 have been postponed until 9 a.m., May 3.

William Lynch, 44, has been arraigned on one count of felony assault with intent to cause great bodily injury and one count of elder abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm or death. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

The scheduled hearing was changed since presiding Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge David Cena is tied up with a homicide trial that is running longer than expected.

The pretrial motions hearing, a time for any legal issue that will arise during the high-profile trial to be addressed by the prosecution and the defense, will be followed by jury selection May 14

The presentation of the evidence is expected to start on or around June 19, instead of the earlier reported date of May 29, said Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Gemetti.

Jury selection will be performed using jury questionnaires with potential jurors being called in to court and given the document to fill out and then reviewed by the attorneys.

Counsel will then meet and discuss which jurors need to be questioned for so-called “cause,” necessary in every trial to weed down the full veneer of potential jurors to the 12 jurors and alternates who will sit on the case, explained Gemetti.

Attorneys will question the jurors for any biases or any impediments to sit for “cause,” such as someone having been convicted of a similar crime or who may have a family member working in the DA’s office or law enforcement and their objectivity is compromised.

After the panel has been passed for cause, meaning there are no legal reasons why the jurors can’t sit on the case, each attorney will have 10 pre-emptory challenges that can be exercised and they’ll go back and forth to determine which jurors will be sworn in, Gemetti added.

The proceedings are taking place in Judge Cena’s courtroom, department 34 of the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice in San Jose.

“Once we’ve sworn the jury in … we’re going to stick to that schedule to the best of our abilities,” Gemetti said about the delays in the trial start date. “Obviously trials are fluid and things may change and emergencies do happen, but … once we have those 12 people and they’re told the dates, things won’t change too much.”

The questionnaire presented to the jurors will probably be several pages long containing a list of questions and topics, some inquiries from the court and some submitted by the defense and the prosecution.

Lynch is being represented by Pat Harris and Mark Geragos, with the Los Angeles-based law firm of Geragos & Geragos.

Authorities say he walked into the center’s reception area the afternoon of May 10, 2010 and asked to speak to Father Jerold Lindner. He said he had a death notification about a member of the priest’s family and then allegedly assaulted him.

The case is being closely watched by critics of the Roman Catholic Church who allege Lindner raped and sodomized Lynch and his brother when they were small boys in the ’70s while on camping trips.

If a jury convicts Lynch, he’s could serve a maximum of four years in state prison. The court, however, could grant him probation and give him up to one year in county jail, Gemetti said.

“We have been ready for trial for quite some time,” Gemetti said. “I’m quite anxious to get the matter proceeding.”

Advertisements

Victim Advocates Question Security Around Defrocked Jesuit Brethren


from the link: http://losgatos.patch.com/articles/victims-advocates-question-security-around-defrocked-jesuit-brethren-at-local-center

Victim Advocates Question Security Around Defrocked Jesuit Brethren

Head of Jesuit order says men are under strict supervision at center in Los Gatos.

By Sheila Sanchez January 10, 2011

The main building of the Los Gatos' Sacred Heart Jesuit Center. Credit: Sheila Sanchez

 

The Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. One of its defrocked priests was beaten in May 2010. The alleged attacker appeared in court in December and will face a judge on Feb. 7 for a preliminary hearing in a case that will probably go to trial.

Santa Clara County prosecutors are accusing 44-year-old William Lynch of mauling Jesuit priest Jerold Lindner with his fists, said Lynch’s attorney Pat Harris. Lynch has said Lindner sodomized and raped him and his brother as young boys.

Lynch’s supporters, who include members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), plan a news conference after the hearing at the Santa Clara County Superior Court building on Hedding Street in San Jose and a march in Los Gatos, according to Harris.

The supporters are taking this opportunity to complain about the security measures at the center, which houses Lindner, 65, and five other retired priests or brethren who have faced charges of sexual abuse. They claim the men can leave the compound at any time and that the supervision plans aren’t strict enough.

One of them, Charles Leonard Connor, 89,who was never an ordained priest, pleaded no contest in 2001 to a lewd act on a man who suffered from mental retardation who worked at the center.

The two, along with three other men, whom the order will not identify, live in the large Jesuit compound at 300 College Ave. The center includes a retirement home, an assisted-living facility and a skilled nursing infirmary. Here, 75 elderly priests live out the rest of their lives after serving in the elite order of priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church.

The Rev. John P. McGarry, the provincial of the California Province of the Society of Jesus, said the concerns about the five men who live at the center are exaggerated.

McGarry is head supervisor at the center and leader of the 375 Jesuit priests who work in California.

He said none of the men is under investigation right now.

Connor is housed in the center’s skilled nursing facility, is confined to a wheelchair and has severe dementia, McGarry said. “He’s totally incapacitated,” he said. “Better that we take care of them there than having them be out on their own in the community.”

Lindner, said McGarry, is under a strict security plan that prevents him from leaving the center unsupervised.

“He didn’t drive himself to the hospital,” he said, referring to newspaper reports that said he had done so, which triggered victims’ protests.

He explained that nursing staff at the center attended to him, and that either one of the Jesuits in the community or one of the nurses on duty drove him to the hospital. “He wouldn’t have been able to drive … He was badly beaten up. His head was bleeding,” McGarry said.

Dan McNevin, a San Francisco SNAP volunteer, is skeptical and upset the Catholic Church hasn’t found another location to house clergy charged, accused or investigated of abuse. “Why are they living there and not in a more secure location?” said McNevin.

The deep distrust against the order, McNevin said, is caused by numerous incidents that indicate that the Jesuit hierarchy has covered up incidents to protect the order’s reputation.

“A priest who has abused should be behind bars and not living in a retreat center,” said McNevin.

McGarry has an answer to that. “If I had any concern that the men living here, who have allegations against them and who are on safety plans, were a risk to the larger community or a risk for reoffending, I would not have them living here,” he said.

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office handled the Lynch incident in May because of jurisdiction issues regarding where the center is located. If something were to happen in the center’s parking lot, however, the Los Gatos Monte Sereno police department would step in, said police spokesman Sgt. Kerry Harris. But he said the center has never given the town any problems.

“We’ve never had any issues with them,” Harris said.

For those looking for assurances, McGarry points to the fact that the center has been accredited by the Austin-based Praesidium risk management group, which has established criteria regarding the prevention of and response to sexual abuse of minors by Jesuit authorities. He added that Praesidium had renewed the center’s certification in July 2010.

The five men who live at the center have served at one time or another in Jesuit schools such as Bellarmine College Preparatory, Sacred Heart Nativity School and Most Holy Trinity Parish in San Jose and Santa Clara University in Santa Clara.

McGarry said the order’s policy continues to be to turn over to criminal and civil authorities allegations of priestly misconduct with minors. The province provides pastoral care and counseling to any person that comes forward and makes an allegation of sexual abuse, he said. He said he’s met often with people who have made allegations.

Joey Piscitelli, Northern California director for the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests, isn’t buying it. “They have aided, abetted, shuffled, protected and promoted known child rapists for decades, and that’s criminal behavior,” he said.

Piscitelli, who says he was molested by a Salesian priest, won a $5 million settlement award against the order after a jury trial in 2006.

Piscitelli has protested outside the center several times, along with John Chevedden, whose brother, Jesuit priest James Chevedden, killed himself when he jumped from the sixth floor of the Santa Clara County Courthouse’s parking garage in 2005.

Chevedden accused the Jesuits of negligence in his brother’s death and in 2007 and settled with the order for $1.6 million.

He said the Lynch case is another example of how victims of abuse suffer for a long time. “It’s disturbing to see how long-lasting and traumatic the abuse is to the victims … that after 35 years it still has a strong impact,” Chevedden said.

What I also found interesting was one of the comments posted under this article:

Fr. Thomas Smolich, promoted to be the # 1 Jesuit in the USA, said a Jesuit priest and resident at the Los Gatos Center, Fr. James Chevedden committed suicide. The Jesuit Order even issued a news release claiming Fr. Chevedden’s suspicious death was a suicide. Fr. Smolich also told Fr. Chevedden’s family that the Jesuit Order would keep Fr. Chevedden’s body.

Fr. Chevedden had earlier reported to Fr. Smolich that he was the victim of Jesuit sex abuse at Los Gatos by a Jesuit Religious Brother, Br. Charles Connor. Br. Connor and Fr. Jerold Lindner were friends. Lindner helped Br. Connor with computers and both sat at the same small meal table.

Ironically or worse, the last Jesuit to see Fr. Chevedden alive was Fr. Lindner, with $2 million paid out in sex abuse settlements. The Jesuit Order did not tell the police that Fr. Lindner was the last Jesuit to see Fr. Chevedden alive. Fr. Lindner was scheduled to testify about his being the last Jesuit to see Fr. Chevedden alive in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Fr. Chevedden’s Dad. The Jesuit Order paid $1.6 million to settle the lawsuit. Thus Fr. Lindner avoided explaining his being last Jesuit to see Fr. Chevedden alive.

Vatican approach to child abuse in Ireland absolutely disgraceful, says PM


from the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/14/vatican-child-abuse-ireland?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Vatican approach to child abuse in Ireland absolutely disgraceful, says PM

Enda Kenny says laws being drawn up making it impossible for anyone to avoid obligation to report abuse allegations

in Dublin
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 14 July 2011 13.52 EDT

Enda Kenny has called on the Vatican to repeat its commitment to always following civil law in matters relating to child abuse. Photograph: Isopix/Rex Features

 

Ireland’s prime minister has denounced the Vatican‘s approach to allegations of child abuse in the republic as absolutely disgraceful.

Enda Kenny said new laws are being drawn up that will make it impossible for anyone – even those high up in the Roman Catholic church – to avoid their obligations regarding reports of child abuse.

“The law of the land should not be stopped by crosier, or by collar,” Kenny said.

He added that he hopes the response from the Irish government to the Cloyne report will clarify to everyone that the law of the land applies in situations where appalling actions took place.

Kenny called on the Vatican to repeat its commitment that civil law should always be followed. The Irish Catholic church and the Vatican have faced severe criticism over repeated attempts to deal with incidents of abuse behind closed doors rather than by handing over suspects to the Garda Síochána.

The Irish deputy prime minister and foreign minister, Eamon Gilmore, met with the Vatican’s ambassador to Ireland to discuss the report’s findings.

“There’s one law in this country. Everybody is going to have to learn to comply with it. The Vatican will have to comply with the laws of this country,” Gilmore said after the meeting.

Gilmore said the report would be debated in the House next Tuesday or Wednesday, depending on the availability of ministers and spokespersons.

He said the failure of the church to co-operate with the law was one of the greatest problems and that the coalition government was determined that there would be consequences for any institution which failed to work with the legal authorities of the state when it came to child abuse.

The Socialist party’s Joe Higgins said people were “throwing their hands in the air” at the revelations in the Cloyne report.

Catholic church weighs up response to criticism from Ireland


from the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/29/catholic-church-response-criticism-ireland?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Catholic church weighs up response to criticism from Ireland

Vatican officials claim Enda Kenny may be using report into sexual abuse by priests to divert attention from euro crisis

in Rome
guardian.co.uk, Friday 29 July 2011 12.41 EDT

Pope Benedict XVI fears further fracturing of the Catholic church in Europe. Photograph: Riccardo De Luca/AP

 

Next month, as every year since he was chosen to lead the world’s Roman Catholics, the scholarly Pope Benedict XVI will preside at a meeting of his Schülerkreis — a group of his former doctoral students.

This year, the issue for debate in the pontifical summer palace, overlooking a volcanic lake near Rome, is the one he was elected to tackle: how to reverse the galloping secularisation of Catholicism‘s European homeland.

The discussion could scarcely be more timely, coming in the midst of a crisis in relations between the Holy See and Ireland, a country where, until a few years ago, official defiance of Rome was unthinkable.

The reaction in the Vatican to Enda Kenny’s impassioned denunciation on 20 July has been one of astonishment. But, as the Holy See’s temporary recall of its ambassador, or nuncio, five days later showed, it is also laced with indignation.

The pope’s deputy spokesman, Father Ciro Benedettini, gave the move a positive gloss, saying the Holy See needed the nuncio back in Rome so it could frame its reply to the Cloyne report “with objectivity and determination”. But his temporary withdrawal also reflected what Benedettini tactfully called “surprise and disappointment over some excessive reactions”.

In diplomacy, the recall of an envoy for consultations is a clear signal of disapproval and L’Avvenire, the newspaper of the Italian bishops’ conference, was unable to find a precedent for it in the vast annals of Vatican diplomacy.

The pope’s aides feel they have been unfairly attacked, and some suspect a political motive. One high-ranking cleric who spoke on condition of anonymity noted Ireland was caught up in the euro crisis and speculated that Kenny might have been seeking to distract public opinion.

Others stressed the Vatican response, promised by the end of August, would seek to heal the breach. But the signs this week were that it would also include a vigorous defence of the Vatican’s position.

No one in Rome disputes that allegations of the sexual abuse of minors in the Cloyne diocese were grossly mishandled by the bishop, John Magee. But Vatican officials argue they are being pilloried for the actions of a pastor who disregarded their instructions.

Ireland’s prime minister claimed that judge Yvonne Murphy’s report contained evidence of an “attempt by the Holy See to block an enquiry … less than three years ago”.

Vatican officials say they can find no such evidence. What the report does contain, they say, is criticism of the papal bureaucracy’s actions 14 years ago. In 1997, the Congregation for the Clergy, the department responsible for the priesthood, sent a message to the Irish bishops criticising their attempts to create a framework for dealing with sex abuse cases.

In particular, it objected to a clause that went beyond the requirements of Irish law at the time and proposed that: “In all instances where it is known or suspected that a priest … has sexually abused a child, the matter should be reported to the civil authorities.” The Vatican said that could be at odds with the church’s own laws.

Murphy’s commission concluded that Rome’s objections gave individual bishops – including Magee – freedom to ignore the bishops’ guidelines. But speaking on Vatican Radio on 19 July, the pope’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, argued there was “no reason to interpret the letter as aimed at hiding cases of abuse. In fact, it was warning of the risk of taking measures that could then turn out to be challengeable or invalid from a canonical point of view”.

In any case, say other Vatican officials, even if the Congregation’s response was misguided, it was made before 2001. That is when, in their view, there was a sea change.

Pope John Paul II ordered all cases of alleged sex abuse to be dealt with in Rome by the department then headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, as he was known then. As he read the paperwork, the future pope became increasingly appalled by what he saw, and put in place an altogether more effective policy. “Not to recognise that there has been a learning curve and that things have changed is stupid”, said a senior Vatican official.

That may not be the whole story, however. In an interview with the website Vatican Insider, the archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said he believed Kenny was not only referring to the 1997 exchange, but also “to interactions – which I was unaware of – which took place with the Vatican while the Cloyne report was being prepared”. He did not elaborate.

• This article was amended on 2 August 2011. In the original Diarmuid Martin was described as also having the status of cardinal. This has been corrected.

Priest apologises for likening Irish PM to Hitler over attack on Vatican


from the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/28/priest-apologises-enda-kenny-hitler-vatican?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Priest apologises for likening Irish PM to Hitler over attack on Vatican

Cleric says he regrets leaflet berating Enda Kenny over accusation that the Holy See downplayed child sex abuse scandals

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 28 July 2011 10.23 EDT

Enda Kenny: parliamentarians from his Fine Gael party complained over the leaflet issued by Father Thomas Daly. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA

 

A Catholic priest in the Irish Republic has been forced to apologise for comparing the country’s prime minister to Adolf Hitler because the taoiseach had dared to criticise the Vatican.

Father Thomas Daly issued the apology on Thursday after he likened Enda Kenny‘s denunciation of the Vatican‘s handling of clerical child sex abuse scandals in the republic to one of Hitler’s speeches.

In a leaflet titled Heil Herr Kenny given to members of the Togher parish in Drogheda, County Louth, the priest wrote that the last European leader to issue such a blistering attack on the pope “was the ruthless German dictator Adolf Hitler”.

Daly said, like Hitler, the taoiseach “had to face reality. A cautionary tale.”

The parish priest also drew a comparison between the Irish prime minister’s remarks to those of anti-Catholic loyalists in Northern Ireland.

“Perhaps we might try and find a way to build new with bridges with the Shankill Road people. A ‘No Pope Here’ sign would definitely be a draw for Shankill Road people and marchers from Portadown,” he wrote.

Parliamentarians from Kenny’s Fine Gael party complained over the priest’s leaflet. Daly said: “I regret the headline and for the misunderstandings that might have arisen out of it. I am not comparing Enda Kenny to Hitler.”

In an unprecedented attack on the Vatican last week, Kenny accused the Holy See of “downplaying the rape and torture of children“. He told the Dáil that the recent Cloyne report “revealed an attempt by the Holy See to frustrate an inquiry into child sex abuse just three years ago”.

Irish PM’s attack on Catholic church a ‘wake-up call’, says archbishop


from the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/21/archbishop-vatican-kenny-abuse?INTCMP=ILCNETTXT3487

Irish PM’s attack on Catholic church a ‘wake-up call’, says archbishop

Diarmuid Martin, archbishop of Dublin, speaks after Enda Kenny accuses Vatican of downplaying abuse of Irish children by clerics

in Dublin

guardian.co.uk, Thursday 21 July 2011 05.44 EDT

Irish prime minister Enda Kenny told parliament that the recent Cloyne report has exposed the Vatican's 'dysfunction' and elitism. Photograph: Julien Behal/PA

 

 

The archbishop of Dublin has said the Irish prime minister’s attack on the Catholic church following a report on child sex abuse in the country should be a wake-up call for clergymen.

Enda Kenny launched his unprecedented attack on the Vatican in the Irish parliament, accusing it of downplaying the rape and torture of Irish children by clerical sex abusers.

He said the recent Cloyne report had exposed an attempt by the holy see to frustrate the inquiry into child sex abuse just three years ago and illuminated the “dysfunction” and the elitism still dominant in the Vatican.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin – close to tears in an interview on RTE Television – said the only way all allegations, abuse and cover-ups could be exposed was through invasive audits of each diocese. “I’m very disappointed, annoyed,” he said.

“What do you do when you’ve got groups, whether in the Vatican or in Ireland, who try to undermine what is being done or simply refuse to understand what has been done?”

The archbishop said the diocese of Cloyne had ignored Vatican policy issued in 2001 by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict.

“What does that say? What sort of a cabal is this that is in there [Cloyne]?” He added: “If they think that by not getting at the truth they are helping the church, the statement in today’s Dail should teach them a lesson.”

Kenny had told the parliament that the Vatican seemed more interested in upholding the power and reputation of the Catholic church than in confronting the abuse of Irish children by its priests and religious orders.

He said that the Vatican’s attitude to investigations in Cloyne, which covers county Cork, was the “polar opposite of the radicalism, the humility and the compassion that the church had been founded on”.

He said the rape and torture of children had been downplayed, or managed, to uphold instead the institution with its power and reputation.

One of the most damning findings of the report was that the diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints made against priests, which “very clearly should have been reported”.

This latest report, coming after a string of inquiries into Catholic clerical sex abuse across Ireland, has set the present Irish government on a collision course with the church not only in the republic but at its global headquarters in the Vatican City.

Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi, speaking in a personal capacity, had said that there was nothing in the advice given by the papal nuncio to Ireland in 1997 to encourage bishops to break Irish laws.

He said that the Vatican’s advice to Irish bishops on child protection policies could not be interpreted as an invitation to cover up abuse cases.

This drew sharp criticism from Ireland’s justice minister, Alan Shatter, who described the Vatican spokesman’s argument as disingenous. Some Irish parliamentarians have called on the Fine Gael-Labour coalition to expel the papal nuncio from Ireland in protest at the Vatican’s attittude to the allegations in the Cloyne diocese.

 

 

 

Irish prime minister attacks Vatican


from the link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jul/20/irish-prime-minister-attacks-vatican

Irish prime minister attacks Vatican

Enda Kenny says Cloyne report on child sex abuse by priests highlights dysfunction and elitism in Rome

in Dublin
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 20 July 2011 11.46 EDT

The Irish PM, Enda Kenny, said the Vatican seemed more interested in upholding the church's reputation than confronting sexual abuse. Photograph: Isopix / Rex Features

Ireland’s prime minister has launched an unprecedented attack on the Vatican, accusing it of downplaying the rape and torture of Irish children by clerical sex abusers.

Enda Kenny said in parliament that the Cloyne report, released on 13 July, had exposed the Vatican’s attempt to frustrate the inquiry into child sex abuse.

During a debate on the fallout from the Cloyne findings, the taoiseach said the report had illuminated the dysfunction and elitism still dominant in the Vatican.

Kenny told the Dáil on Wednesday that Rome seemed more interested in upholding the church’s power and reputation than confronting the abuse of Irish children by its priests and religious orders.

The Vatican’s attitude to investigations in Cloyne, which covers County Cork, was the “polar opposite of the radicalism, the humility and the compassion that the church had been founded on”, he said.

Kenny said the rape and torture of children had been downplayed or “managed” to uphold the institution’s power and reputation.

The all-party motion being debated in the Dáil “deplores the Vatican’s intervention which contributed to the undermining of child protection frameworks and guidelines of the Irish state and the Irish bishops”.

One of the most damning findings of the Cloyne report was that the diocese failed to report nine out of 15 complaints made against priests, which “very clearly should have been reported”.

The report, coming after a string of inquiries into Catholic clerical sex abuse across Ireland, has set the Irish government on a collision course with the church.

Earlier on Wednesday a Vatican spokesman, Fr Federico Lombardi, speaking in a personal capacity, said nothing in the advice given by the papal nuncio to Ireland in 1997 encouraged bishops to break Irish laws.

The Vatican’s advice to Irish bishops on child protection policies could not be interpreted as an invitation to cover up abuse cases, he said.

Ireland’s justice minister, Alan Shatter, described the Vatican spokesman’s argument as disingenuous.

Some Irish parliamentarians have called on the Fine Gael-Labour coalition to expel the papal nuncio from Ireland in protest over the Vatican’s attitude to the allegations in the Cloyne diocese.

 

 

 

Vatican announces silencing of Irish liberal priest Father Tony Flannery


From the link: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Vatican-announces-silencing-of-Irish-liberal-priest-Father-Tony-Flannery-146402545.html

Vatican announces silencing of Irish liberal priest Father Tony Flannery

Criticisms of Vatican on abuse, birth control, women priests, leads to inquiry

By

ANTOINETTE KELLY,
IrishCentral Staff Writer
Published Friday, April 6, 2012, 6:09 AM
Updated Friday, April 6, 2012, 6:59 AM

Father Tony Flannery

 

Father Tony Flannery, a Catholic priest who has been outspoken in his criticism of the abuse crisis in Ireland, has found himself under investigation by the Vatican for his liberal views.

Founder of the Association of Irish Priests, Father Flannery told TheJournal.ie that the Vatican has contacted him to inform him of the investigation.

The effect of the investigation was immediate. This week The Irish Catholic newspaper reports that Father Flannery had to cease writing his monthly column in the Redemptorist Reality magazine in response to news of the investigation.

The Irish Catholic writer Michael Kelly reported that, “It is understood that while Fr Flannery has the support of his superiors in the Redemptorist Order, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome has expressed disquiet about some of his articles and publications.

“It is believed that the views which have come under most scrutiny are Fr Flannery’s opposition to the Church’s ban on artificial birth control and his support for the ordination of women.”

Last year, Father Flannery welcomed Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny’s hard hitting criticism of the Church’s decades long mishandling of the child sex abuse scandals in Ireland.

The investigation is seen by critics as a crackdown on the association, which has been described as a ‘dissident group’ by more conservative members of the Church.

In recent months, the association has called for changes in the Church, including its theology on sexuality. Some of the association’s priests contend that priests should be allowed to marry and that the Church should permit the ordination of female priests.

A Redemptorist, Flannery is a native of Attymon, Athenry in County Galway, Ireland. He is the youngest in the family of four. He has two brothers: Peter, who is a fellow Redemptorist at Esker Monastery in Athenry, and Frank, the Fine Gael Director of Organisation and Strategy.

The crackdown comes on the heels of the Vatican ordered Apostolic Visitation, which found evidence of what it called a ‘certain tendency’ for Irish priests to hold opinions that conflict with those of the orthodox Magisterium, the Catholic Church’s teaching authority.

In a sign of hardening attitudes, the Visitation participants underlined that any dissent from the formal teachings of the Church were ‘not the authentic path towards renewal.’

Under the current circumstances, Father Flannery has been effectively silenced, with no indication of how long it will last.

On Holy Thursday Pope Benedict issued a very direct statement which slammed those priests who refuse to conform to church teachings.

Sex Crimes and the Vatican Documentary


Sex Crimes and the Vatican Documentary

Created in 1962, a now infamous document was issued in secret to bishops. Called Crimen Sollicitationis, it outlined procedures to be followed by bishops when dealing with allegations of child abuse, homosexuality and bestiality by members of the clergy. It swore all parties involved to secrecy on pain of excommunication from the Catholic Church.

This document was reissued in 2001 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and sent to all bishops. Yet rather than ordering more openness and cooperation with the authorities as demanded by both law enforcers and the victims, he reiterated its policies and ensured that the Code of Silence be applied to all cases of child abuse involving a priest. Cardinal Ratzinger also instructed that all cases should now be referred to his office directly and that he would maintain ‘exclusive competence’ over the handling of allegations. This is the Catholic Church’s policy to this day and Cardinal Ratzinger is now Pope Benedict XVI.

The policy laid out in the above document has led to systemic failure by the result that a significant number of priest have, in effect, been allowed to abuse again, and further children have been put at risk.

As the documentary explores, Colm O’Gorman is the man responsible for breaking open decades of abuse by Catholic Priests in Ireland in the BAFTA award-winning BBC special Suing the Pope. He links international ‘systemic evidence’ to argue the Vatican has a policy to cover up the sexual abuse of thousands of children across the world.

In Sex Crimes and the Vatican O’Gorman explores four separate cases internationally of widespread clerical abuse, putting the Roman Catholic Church on trial for the reckless endangerment of children. O’Gorman raises the question, ‘Is the Church in default of its obligation as a signatory to the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child?’

A link to the documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MwOV8QF9d88

With church abuse trial set to open, tensions abound


http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20120325_With_church_abuse_trial_set_to_open__tensions_abound.html?viewAll=y&c=y

With church abuse trial set to open, tensions abound

By John P. Martin

Inquirer Staff Writer

Sun, Mar. 25, 2012, 6:45 AM

Msgr William J Lynn accused of cover ups in priest abuse scandals.

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.”