Blog Archives

Priest thrown out of priesthood for abusing boys


Priest thrown out of priesthood for abusing boys

from the link:http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/archives/2012/09/priest_thrown_out_of_priesthoo.php

Friday 07 September 2012

A 59-year-old Catholic priest has been stripped of his priesthood by the Vatican following a string of offences against young boys.

Ron van der V is currently in jail following his conviction for abusing a 12-year-old boy on a campsite in France. The priest has several convictions for abusing boys and possessing child pornography over the years, Nos television said.

A report into child abuse within the Catholic church last year identified 105 priests who had abused children between 1945 and 1985 and are still alive.

Advertisements

Jail for a grave sin of omission


Jail for a grave sin of omission

 5:12 PM, Jul 30, 2012

From the link: http://www.app.com/article/20120731/NJOPINION01/307310012/Jail-grave-sin-omission?odyssey=mod|newswell|text|Opinion|p&nclick_check=1

Bishop Lyn sent to prison for at least 3 years for his grave sin of omission.

Msgr. William Lynn did not rape a child. He did not molest a child.

But he will go to prison for at least three years because those awful things happened to children. And it is justice — long, long overdue justice — that sends an important message across the United States and, hopefully, around the world.

A few Catholic priests who for years molested and assaulted children have been sent to prison in this country. They are, unfortunately, only a handful among the guilty, most of whom will never face deserved time behind bars because they’ve died or statutes of limitation have run out or because there isn’t enough evidence left to ensure a conviction.

Lynn, though, is the first Catholic official convicted in the United States solely for the crime of covering up sex abuse claims. The former secretary of clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia was found guilty last month by a jury in Philadelphia of felony child endangerment.

Lynn learned in 1992 that now-defrocked priest Edward Avery abused a boy years earlier. Lynn sent Avery for treatment at a church-run facility that diagnosed him with an alcohol problem, not a sexual disorder.

Avery was subsequently returned to the ministry in Philadelphia and sexually assaulted an altar boy in 1999. Avery is serving a 2½- to five-year sentence for that crime.

Of course, it was more than just that episode. As Judge M. Teresa Sarmina noted in sentencing Lynn, she was convinced that he stayed in his job and kept quiet when the then-head of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, the late Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, had a list of priests accused of sex abuse destroyed.

There is nothing — no boss, no institution, no tradition — that serves as any valid excuse for not taking action to stop a pedophile.

That lesson is being learned now, too late, at Penn State. Top officials there who didn’t call police right away to stop Jerry Sandusky from continuing to assault boys rightly face criminal charges for allegedly lying to a grand jury about their role in a cover-up.

The old maxim, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing,” applies here. But doing nothing in the face of the sexual exploitation of children is not the act of good men and compounds the evil.

If doing nothing to stop sexual assaults is criminal, it must be punished. The Catholic Church for years has largely demonstrated an unwillingness to see that punishment is doled out.

So we applaud Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams for pursuing this case and getting a conviction against Lynn.

We only hope that it’s the first domino to fall and that other church officials around the world who hid pedophile priests, allowing the abuse of children to continue, get the punishment that’s due them.

 

Retrial for Fr. Brennan in Priest Child Sex Abuse Case


Retrial for Fr. Brennan in Priest Child Sex Abuse Case

Fr. James Brennan will be retried on charges that he sexually abuses a 14-year-old boy in 1996

By Karen Araiza
|  Monday, Jul 23, 2012  |  Updated 10:50 AM EDT

From the link: http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local/Father-Brennan-Retrial-Priest-Child-Sex-Abuse-Case-163406946.html

Father James Brennan will be retried in the landmark priest child sex abuse case.

He’s accused of sexually abusing a 14-year-old boy in 1996. Jurors could not agree on a verdict in his first trial.

On Monday morning, Philadelphia prosecutors announced they’ll put Brennan on trial again.

He was a co-defendant in the trial earlier this summer with Monsignor William Lynn. After 13 days of deliberating, jurors could not agree on verdicts for Brennan and could only agree on one of the three verdicts for Lynn. Lynn was convicted of one count of endangering the welfare of a child. He was accused of mishandling sex abuse complaints while he was secretary of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Monsignor Lynn was acquitted of a second charge of endangerment and a charge of conspiracy. He was taken straight to jail and was denied a later request to be put under house arrest until his sentencing in August.

On the day of the verdicts in that first trial, Father Brennan was elated that he got to home a free man. The jury was hung on one count of attempted rape and a second count of endangering the welfare of a child.

“My faith is what got me through all this! The prayers from family, friends that have just been constant, constant for me.”

Two jurors who talked that day told NBC10 that they couldn’t make up their minds about the charges against Brennan because they either didn’t find the witnesses credible, didn’t feel like they got enough information to make a good decision and they wanted to hear from Father Brennan.

L.A. Priest Blamed for Legacy of Pain


L.A. Priest Blamed for Legacy of Pain

Ten, including relatives, say the Jesuit molested them. He denies it and has not been charged.

December 14, 2002|Glenn F. Bunting | Times Staff Writer

During 16 years at Loyola High School, Father Jerold Lindner was admired as an energetic teacher exceptionally devoted to his students. Superiors lauded him as the model of “a Christian educator.” A colleague in the English department nominated him as “chairman for life.”

Others outside the school say they knew a different Lindner. Ten men and women portray the Jesuit as a molester who haunted their childhoods, abusing them on Sundays after Mass, during holiday gatherings and on Catholic family camping trips — nearly always while wearing his clerical collar.

These encounters allegedly began in the 1950s, continued through the 1970s, when Lindner was entering the priesthood, and persisted into the 1980s, while he was teaching at Loyola High, a private, all-boys prep school west of downtown Los Angeles.

Jesuit leaders say they first learned about Lindner’s past a decade ago, when his brother told them that the priest had sexually abused three nieces, a nephew and a younger sibling. After sending Lindner for a psychiatric evaluation, Jesuit superiors deemed the allegations not credible and put him back in the classroom.

Fresh charges surfaced in 1997, when two brothers asserted in a lawsuit that Lindner sodomized them years earlier during weekend retreats in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The Jesuits then removed the priest from Loyola and negotiated a secret $625,000 settlement with the brothers. As before, Lindner’s superiors did not inform law enforcement authorities, parents or teachers about the allegations.

In a sworn deposition, Lindner denied ever abusing anyone. In a statement to The Times, he said: “I have devoted my life to helping people, and I insist that the accusations against me are not true.” He said the Catholic sex-abuse crisis has “created an atmosphere where people like me are presumed guilty until proven innocent.”

Lindner, 58, has never been criminally charged, and Loyola officials say they know of no allegations that he molested students or other members of the high school community. He is under investigation by L.A. County sheriff’s detectives and the district attorney’s office.

The priest’s accusers depict a man who began molesting when he was a child and continued to do so even as he soldiered through the rigorous Jesuit rituals of indoctrination. Family members and victims kept quiet and sometimes defended the priest, a Times investigation found.

Lindner’s superiors, when confronted with explosive accusations, tried to keep them “internal to the Society of Jesus,” as one Loyola administrator put it in a memo.

In interviews and legal documents, the 10 men and women have said they were molested while growing up in Los Angeles County, the San Francisco Bay Area and suburban Phoenix. Eight agreed to be identified by name in this article.

Several said Lindner ordered them to lie still while he sexually abused them. Afterward, they said, he called them “dirty” and threatened to harm them if they told anyone.

Four of Lindner’s accusers said they were so traumatized that they tried to commit suicide as teenagers. Others reported suffering failed marriages, depression, flashbacks and a loss of faith.

Many said they had remained silent until now because of a deep sense of shame and because they feared retaliation by Lindner. The alleged victims said they are angry — at the priest and at the Jesuits.

“We all want him behind bars, where he belongs,” said Tamara Roehm, 35, of Lancaster, one of Lindner’s nieces.

The priest’s mother, 80, said recently that the accounts of victims within her own family had persuaded her that Lindner preyed on young people.

“I know that Jerry needs help, and so do his victims,” Isabelle Lindner said in an interview at her Phoenix-area home. “If he wasn’t a priest and didn’t have the Jesuits standing behind him, I think he would be in jail.”

Lindner now lives in the Bay Area town of Los Gatos at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, a picturesque retreat overlooking the Santa Clara Valley.

The Jesuits say they have barred him from teaching or ministering to the public, but he is free to travel and tutor seminarians and has collected a living allowance from the order.

In preparing this report, The Times reviewed internal Jesuit records, numerous letters Lindner wrote over two decades, and documents related to the lawsuit by the two brothers, including a sworn deposition of Lindner on June 10, 1998.

Loyola High administrators last month informed parents and alumni of the allegations against Lindner for the first time. They took the step after learning The Times was preparing an article on the priest.

In a Nov. 18 letter to parents and alumni, Father Robert T. Walsh, Loyola’s president, said administrators learned of sexual-abuse accusations against Lindner in 1997 and “immediately relieved him of his teaching and school duties.” The letter made no mention of the 1992 allegations. Walsh and other Loyola officials declined to answer questions about Lindner.

A top-ranking Jesuit said no one at the high school noticed any inappropriate behavior by the priest.

“We never had complaints at Loyola High,” said Father Thomas H. Smolich, who as head of the California Province oversees Jesuits in four Western states and Hawaii. “If you look at Jerry’s professional career there, it is very successful.”

Smolich, who began his six-year term as provincial in 1999, acknowledged that the Jesuits did not notify authorities of the accusations against Lindner in 1992 or in 1997. He said that he could provide no explanation and that Jesuit records shed no light on the matter.

“There are things I wish we had done differently,” Smolich said. “If the allegations were reported today, we would contact appropriate law enforcement authorities and respond pastorally to victims.”

Early Aspiration

Jerold William Lindner was born Nov. 16, 1944, in Columbus, Ohio, into a devout Catholic family. Priests and nuns were frequent visitors to the home.

Before entering elementary school, Jerold announced that he wanted to be a priest, his mother recalled. She said his interest in the clergy never waned.

The family moved to Arizona when Jerold was 6. He served as an altar boy, joined the Boy Scouts and became an avid chess player. A gifted student, he ranked in the top four of his 115-student class during several semesters at Brophy College Preparatory, the all-boys Jesuit high school in Phoenix. Years later, he scored in the “very superior” range on an IQ test.

Members of Lindner’s family said fellow students picked on him. As a freshman, he was forced to kneel on the hot asphalt at school for hours and suffered severe burns. He often came home with stains on his white school shirts, the result of classmates pelting him with oranges.

After graduating from Brophy in June 1962, Lindner applied to become a Jesuit. The Society of Jesus was founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola and is the largest religious order in the Roman Catholic Church, with about 21,000 members worldwide. Candidates undergo years of rigorous training, and members of the society must observe strict vows of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Lindner’s application was rejected by the order, according to members of his family. They said the Jesuits told him he needed to broaden his life. So he took a job as a courier for a title company, became leader of a Boy Scout troop in Phoenix and dated for the first time.

He reapplied to the Jesuits a year later and was turned down again, this time with the suggestion that he move out of his parents’ home, family members said.

Lindner enrolled at Loyola University in Los Angeles, a Jesuit institution, in the fall of 1963. He was accepted for Jesuit training the following June and sent to the Sacred Heart Novitiate in Los Gatos for two years to study the order’s traditions, rules and expectations.

Early on, Jesuit leaders detected psychological problems.

After Lindner returned to Loyola University in 1968 to earn his bachelor’s degree in English, a routine evaluation found that he “needs emotional and psychological maturing and stabilizing.”

In the early 1970s, he sought therapy for “depression and poor self-image” on the advice of his Jesuit spiritual advisor and suffered “bouts of panic attacks,” say personnel records and psychiatric reports.

Lindner’s aberrant behavior dated to childhood, his mother said. She said she caught her son, at age 10, inappropriately touching his 5-year-old sister in bed. Over the years, she has defended her son and rejected allegations from relatives that he abused them. She now says she has come to believe the accusations.

The sister, Kathy McEntire, also once defended her brother, but now says he sexually abused her for years.

“It started with me,” said McEntire, 53, struggling to fight back tears at her kitchen table in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa.

She alleged that Lindner knelt beside her bed at night and molested her, a practice she said continued until she was about 9. “He got bolder and bolder over time, as he figured out what he could get away with,” she said.

Assigned to Teach

In 1969, the Jesuits sent Lindner to earn a master’s degree in English at St. Louis University in Missouri, where he was active in an urban Boy Scout troop. The next year, he was assigned to teach at St. Ignatius High School in San Francisco.

He stayed in the Bay Area more than a decade, enrolling at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley in 1973 and being ordained as a priest in 1976. He returned to St. Ignatius and taught English there from 1976 to 1982. He was also Scoutmaster for an Oakland troop and accompanied boys on weekend camping and ski trips.

During these years, Lindner allegedly molested six children, according to sworn testimony and interviews.

One of them was McEntire’s son, Trevor. He said Lindner molested him on about 20 occasions, beginning when he was 5, during family visits to the Jesuit residence in Berkeley and when the priest made holiday trips to Arizona. He said the abuse lasted until he was 9.

“He touched me a lot,” Trevor McEntire, now 32, said of his uncle. “I tolerated it, because I didn’t know any better. I kind of blame myself for not telling anybody.”

Kathy McEntire said her son told her only recently about the abuse. She said it was devastating to learn that the same man she accuses of molesting her more than 40 years ago had allegedly violated her son. “I’m just coming to grips with this,” she said. “I am so sick and disgusted I can’t stand it,” she said.

Lindner met other alleged victims while volunteering as a spiritual advisor for the Christian Family Movement, a worldwide lay organization of Catholic couples. Lindner said Mass in private homes, heard confessions, attended monthly parent meetings and accompanied families on weekend retreats.

The two brothers who sued the Jesuits said Lindner sexually assaulted them during Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend camp-outs in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1975, when they were 5 and 7.

The alleged assaults are detailed in reports by Lynn E. Ponton, a professor of psychiatry at UC San Francisco and expert in sexual abuse who was retained by the brothers’ lawyer.

Ponton said the brothers told her that Lindner sodomized them and forced them to perform oral sex on four occasions in the woods. In one incident, the priest allegedly abused the two boys in a tent.

One of them, Will Lynch of San Francisco, now 35, said in an interview that Lindner coerced him to enter the tent by threatening to harm his younger brother. “Even at age 7, I knew it was wrong. I didn’t want to be there,” Lynch said. “When he grabbed me, I remember thinking, ‘I’m not getting out of this.’ ”

Lynch’s brother declined to be interviewed.

In the deposition, Lindner confirmed attending weekend camp-outs but said he had no recollection of meeting the brothers.

Will Lynch said the abuse had shattering effects. He had nightmares for years, suffered from depression and alcohol abuse, and twice attempted suicide, he said. “Many times I thought of driving down to L.A. and confronting Father Jerry,” he said. “I wanted to exorcise all of the rage and anger and bitterness he put into me…. You can’t put into words what this guy did to me. He stole my innocence and destroyed my life.”

Sworn Depositions

Two women who accuse Lindner of molesting them when they were girls in the Bay Area also said they have had difficulty recovering. Both described the alleged molestations in sworn depositions as part of the Lynches’ suit and in interviews with The Times.

Krista Nemechek, a 32-year-old special education teacher in the Bay Area, said she was 7 when Lindner grabbed her in a bedroom of an Oakland home during a 1977 social gathering.

“I was wearing a dress,” Nemechek said. “He put me in this almost vise-grip of a hug. He pulled me so I was facing him, then he rubbed his hands up and down me. I remember him kissing me really passionately [and] moaning a little bit…. It just didn’t feel right in any way.”

In his deposition, Lindner said he had no recollection of Nemechek or the alleged incident.

Nemechek said the episode haunted her through adolescence. “I know he hurt a lot of people,” she said. “More than anything that happened to me, the hardest part is realizing that I could have done something.”

Debbie Lukas, 36, recalled meeting Lindner when he said Mass at her parents’ house in Oakland. Then 8, she “lit up” at the attention the priest showered on her, she said.

When she was 10, Lukas said, Lindner began making suggestive remarks and forcing deep, full-mouth kisses on her. One evening after dinner, she said, Lindner caught her alone in the basement of her home. She recalled hearing her mother’s footsteps on the kitchen floor above while the priest sexually assaulted her.

“He pushed me down on the bed. I was struggling to get away from him…. He was a big guy,” Lukas said. “I remember him covering my mouth. I could hardly breathe.”

Asked about Lukas’ allegation, Lindner said in his deposition: “I don’t remember doing this. I don’t think I did it.”

Lukas said she was despondent for years and still feels uncomfortable in her parents’ house. “I’ve had this torture all my life,” said Lukas, who runs an herbal-products business in Oregon. “I don’t trust authority. I don’t believe in God anymore…. It has shaped the foundation of who I am.”

Another of Lindner’s nephews says the priest molested him over several nights at a family reunion in Arizona during the 1979 Christmas season. The boy was 11 years old at the time.

“He was French-kissing me,” said the nephew, who spoke on condition that he not be named. “He was holding me tight, and he fondled me. It happened every night.”

In 1982, after eight years at St. Ignatius High, Lindner transferred to Loyola High and was named chairman of the English department.

Founded in 1865, Loyola is L.A.’s oldest Catholic school, occupying ivy-covered buildings on Venice Boulevard near Koreatown. Among the most competitive prep schools in the area, it has 1,096 students and 84 faculty and staff members.

At Loyola, Lindner expressed a preference for working with younger students. An evaluation stated: “Fr. Lindner was quite honest about his wish to teach frosh rather than seniors.”

In 1983, he wrote an acquaintance: “I am tutoring frosh — I don’t teach them, but I know about 110 of them now. I have a ‘hit’ list with their names and photos (a way to get to know their names). They are fun.”

Lindner organized numerous after-school activities that gradually became known as “Lindner clubs.” They included archery, backgammon, chess, Knights of FRP (a fantasy role-playing group) and remote-control car racing.

Loyola administrators praised his devotion to students. “I want to point out particularly that many of the students in your clubs would have no other avenue into the mainstream of the Loyola community were it not for your energy, ingenuity and organization,” Father Gordon Bennett, then the principal, wrote in October 1984.

Lindner served as an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 1193 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, near the Loyola campus.

And he reached out to a boy and girl he had met years earlier through the Christian Family Movement.

One of them was Debbie Lukas. Lindner sent the teenager romantic letters, calling her “my California beauty” and “the flame tree of my life” and mentioning that the residence hall at Loyola had “a place to put people up … (even you).”

Lindner also contacted Lukas’ mother, Mary Louise Taylor, and suggested that her 12-year-old son spend a weekend with him on the campus.

“I was so shocked,” said Taylor, adding that she declined.

In his deposition, Lindner described the invitation as “a joke.”

Visiting His Brother

Lindner’s move to Loyola made it easier to visit his older brother, Larry, then an LAPD patrol officer who lived in Lancaster with his family. During these visits, Father Lindner allegedly molested three nieces.

“He would hold your face, stare at you and then stick his tongue in your mouth,” said one niece, Susan Edens, now 32, who still lives in Lancaster. “I used to hate him coming over to our house, because I hated that kiss. It was horrid.”

Her sister, Tamara Roehm, said Jerold Lindner did the same thing to her many times.

Larry Lindner’s youngest daughter, Tiffany Swindler, said the priest sodomized her on three occasions when she was between 5 and 7.

“He was meaner the second time,” said Swindler, now 27. “He yelled a lot. He grabbed my hair harder than normal.” Afterward, she said, Father Lindner called her “dirty” and told her: “Bad things happen to little girls who open their mouths.”

Swindler and her father said that the priest molested the girl for the final time around Easter 1984. In separate interviews, they said Larry Lindner walked into the living room to find the priest playing with Tiffany while sexually aroused.

“I threw him out of my house,” Larry Lindner said. He urged his brother to seek treatment but did not report him to authorities.

“I trusted him,” Larry Lindner said. “I told him, ‘I’m not going to ruin your life or ruin your career. Just go get help.’ … I should have had him arrested right there. But he’s still my brother, and I did what I thought a brother should do.”

Larry Lindner said that until recently he was not aware of Swindler’s allegations that the priest had sodomized her.

Swindler said the abuse ceased when she was 8 but never stopped haunting her. She said she became sexually active at 11 and endured three broken marriages. Recently, she began undergoing therapy for depression.

“I hate him,” Swindler said of her uncle. “I hate the way he ruined my life.”

Larry Lindner retired from the LAPD in 1986, and the family moved to Oregon. In January 1992, his wife found Tiffany crying on the floor of their home after suffering flashbacks about the priest.

Larry Lindner said his daughter’s anguish made him so angry that he called Jesuit superiors to report his brother’s history of alleged sexual misconduct. Loyola’s then-principal, Father Eugene Growney, posted a memo on Feb. 3, 1992, informing the high school faculty and staff that Jerold Lindner had been placed on leave “for reasons internal to the Society of Jesus.”

Psychiatric Center

The Jesuits sent Lindner to St. Luke Institute in Maryland, a psychiatric center where Catholic clergymen accused of sexual abuse are evaluated and treated. Before going, Lindner solicited letters of support from family members. His mother and two sisters submitted five letters on his behalf to Jesuit superiors.

Isabelle Linder wrote that Larry Lindner could not be believed. “Father, they are all lies!” she said.

Kathy McEntire also supported Father Lindner. “I have been informed that one of the lies being made against my brother is that he also molested me when I was in fourth or fifth grade,” she wrote. “I can assure you that in no way is this true.”

Both women said in separate interviews that they knowingly provided false information in the letters. The mother said she was trying to help her son. McEntire said she wrote her letters under duress. “Mom said if all of us did not come forward … his career would be destroyed and he would get kicked out of the church,” she said.

A confidential St. Luke report that cleared the way for Lindner to return to teaching made several references to the family letters. The report said an examination of Lindner, who told the St. Luke staff that he had never abused anyone, found no sexual disorders or “significant risk factors.”

“We see no reason why Father Lindner should not return to his usual activities,” the report said. The psychiatrists at St. Luke closed with a recommendation that Lindner go on a low-fat diet.

Richard Sipe — a former Benedictine monk and expert on sexuality in the clergy who has served as a St. Luke board member — reviewed the eight-page report at The Times’ request. He described it as “deficient and biased,” and said: “They did not provide any kind of sexual history. They did not do any investigation. They simply took his word.”

The president of St. Luke, Father Stephen J. Rossetti, said he could not comment on Lindner’s case but that in general it is difficult to determine through psychological evaluation if someone is a molester. “We are doing a clinical evaluation based on the information we have, and it’s not easy work,” he said.

Lindner returned to Loyola High in fall 1992. He said in his deposition that Jesuit superiors and Loyola administrators never discussed his brother’s accusations with him. He resumed his teaching duties and continued to receive plaudits.

“I cannot begin to thank you enough for your phenomenal generosity and commitment,” Father Walsh wrote on Nov. 8, 1992, weeks after Lindner’s return.

Students dedicated the 1993 yearbook to Lindner, lauding him as “one of the most active and popular teachers at Loyola.”

From 1992 through 1995, he escorted Loyola students on three summer trips to Europe. In late 1996, he boasted in letters to friends that 33 Loyola students had signed up for the 1997 European tour, making it the largest ever.

Lindner later wrote to say that “an unspecified illness” forced him to miss the 1997 trip because foreign travel was “not medically recommended.” In fact, he was barred from the trip because new allegations of sexual abuse had surfaced.

The Lynch brothers, breaking their silence after two decades, filed their suit against the Society of Jesus in April 1997.

Their lawyer, Michael D. Meadows, said he had to pressure the Jesuits to remove Lindner from the classroom. “There was still the same reflexive response of circle the wagons, protect the priest and the institution, and ignore the interests of the kids,” he said.

Lindner was relieved of his teaching duties in late May 1997 and sent back to St. Luke that September. He spent nearly nine months there, receiving medical and psychological treatment for depression and low self-esteem brought on by “the trauma of these allegations,” a Jesuit superior said in a deposition.

In May 1998, Lindner returned to the Jesuit residence at Loyola on condition that he no longer teach.

In the deposition, he said he agreed to the restriction to spare the school a controversy. “It could possibly put the school in a bad light with publicity if this went public,” he said.

Lindner continued to serve with the Boy Scouts at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, near Loyola, records show. Father Dennis P. O’Neil, then pastor of the church, said he was never told about Lindner’s past. “I never heard a thing,” said O’Neil, now auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of San Bernardino.

In October 1998, the Society of Jesus reached a confidential settlement with the Lynch brothers. Documents show that the Jesuits paid $625,000. Among the conditions was a prohibition against publicizing the allegations. “There was no admission to anything, no attempt to apologize,” Will Lynch said. “The Jesuits’ attitude was, ‘Let’s settle this out.’ The only issue was how much.”

At Christmas 1999, Lindner visited his family in Arizona. His younger sister, McEntire, said she confronted him about the pain he had inflicted on his victims, herself included.

According to McEntire, Lindner acknowledged that he “may have crossed the line” in his conduct with one niece and with one nephew. He expressed no regret and offered no apologies, she said.

Freedom to Travel

Since he stopped teaching at Loyola, Lindner has enjoyed the freedom to travel and work as a language tutor with few restrictions. He earned a master’s degree in linguistics at San Jose State and spent several months in Paris immersing himself in French culture. He moved to the Jesuit residence in Culver City last year, teaching English to seminarians from developing countries.

In the fall of 2001, Lindner began teaching English as a second language at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The director of the program, Tony Costanzo, said the Jesuits never informed him of Lindner’s background. “Had I known that, I definitely would not have hired him,” he said.

Lindner was transferred to Sacred Heart in Los Gatos this August. At least five registered sex offenders have resided at the Jesuit center in recent years, including a priest and brother who were recently convicted of sexually abusing two mentally retarded men. In September, the Jesuits agreed to a settlement that will pay the two victims $7.5 million each.

The center is within walking distance of downtown Los Gatos, an upscale village in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Last month, anonymously posted fliers bearing a photo of Lindner appeared in the shopping district. “Warning,” they said. “Pedophile in our community.

Lindner is living under a set of written restrictions laid down by the order, said Smolich, the Jesuit provincial superior. He said Lindner is barred from teaching or ministering to children and cannot say Mass or hear confession in church.

“The world has changed in the last nine months,” Smolich said. “For Jerry’s sake and the public’s sake, we can’t be too careful.”

 

Man acquitted of beating of priest he said sexually abused him


Man acquitted of beating of priest he said sexually abused him

http://www.wlsam.com/Article.asp?id=2488363&spid=

SAN JOSE, Calif. (WLS) – William Lynch, the California man who admitted he pummeled a priest who he said abused him as a boy, has been found not guilty of felony assault and elder abuse charges.

The jury of nine men and three women could not reach a verdict on a lesser charge of misdemeanor assault for the 2010 attack at a retirement home.

The jury began deliberations late Monday after hearing impassioned closing arguments from both sides.

The defense’s strategy had long been to prove to the jury that the wrong man was on trial. However, prosecutor Vicki Gemetti urged jurors to focus on the assault.

“Two wrongs don’t make a right,” she said in her closing arguments on Monday.

Lynch’s crusade for his own form of personal justice against the priest, Jerry Lindner, drew supporters to the courthouse in San Jose, Calif., during his nearly three-week trial. They carried signs that read “stop clergy sex abuse” and condemned the “pedophile playground” retirement community that is home to Lindner, who has had previous allegations against him.

Lynch testified last Friday that he visited Lindner with the intention of having the aging Jesuit sign a confession, but when the priest “looked up and leered” at Lynch in the same manner he did more than 35 years ago when he sexually abused him, Lynch said he ordered the priest to take off his glasses and hit him.

Lynch passed up a plea deal of one year in jail and instead chose to go to trial to publicly shame the man who he said haunted his memories for 35 years.

On a family camping trip 35 years ago, Lynch said he was brutally raped at age 7 by Lindner and was then forced to perform sex acts on his 4-year-old brother.

The boys kept their painful secret for years, long past the six-year statute of limitations California had in place at the time of the alleged crimes.

Lynch got his wish to see the priest in court, even if the tables were turned. Lindner was forced to testify, but a short time later the Jesuit invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. The judge struck his testimony from the record.

During his short time on the stand, Lindner, now 67, told the court he remembered Lynch, but only as the man who attacked him at a Los Gatos, Calif., Jesuit retirement community where the priest has resided since 2001.

Lindner denied molesting Lynch and his younger brother on a camping trip to the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1974.

Lynch’s attorney declared the priest had perjured himself and even prosecutor Vicki Gemetti said in her opening statement that she expected Lindner to lie on the stand or say he didn’t remember certain events.

“The evidence will show [Lindner] molested the defendant all those years ago,” she said, but urged the jury to focus on Lynch’s attack.

Lynch’s case of alleged vigilante justice has attracted support from around the world and has shed light on a justice system many view as flawed.

Lynch and his brother were awarded $625,000 after filing a civil suit against Lindner in 1997. The priest was removed from active ministry and was moved to the Jesuit retirement community in 2001.

Lindner was named in two other abuse lawsuits, according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

ABC Radio News Contributed To This Report


Gerald T. Slevin: Philly Criminal Trial Reveals Vatican’s Fatal Strategy


Gerald T. Slevin: Philly Criminal Trial Reveals Vatican’s Fatal Strategy

From the link: http://bilgrimage.blogspot.com/2012/06/gerald-t-slevin-philly-criminal-trial.html

As the jury in the Philadelphia archdiocesan trial continues to be deadlocked, and as Catholics and others concerned about the issue of abuse of minors by Catholic clerics continue to monitor this trial, Jerry Slevin has provided another valuable statement dealing with the situation in Philadelphia and its implications from a more “global” perspective, and placing this situation against the backdrop of Vatican concerns and Vatican politics.  What follows is Jerry’s statement:

VATICAN’S STRATEGIC CHOICES: (A) HOPEFUL TRANSPARENCY OR (B) FATAL SECRECY

Assume you were a key executive for a couple of decades of a multinational religious organization. What would you choose?
By 1992, twenty years ago, you and your executive team knew that numerous top executives had for years tolerated, and often likely covered-up, many potentially criminal acts by employees involving sexual assaults on children.
By 2002, with the publicity from the Boston and Irish abuse scandals, key executives were facing escalating financial and legal risks from victims’ claims and from  prosecutors’ charges.
By 2012, the organization’s reputation had suffered dramatically, thereby reducing  revenues from contributions, while costs, especially legal expenses, continued to climb.
In 1992, there had been a clear choice still available : (A) hopeful transparency and being authentic, while endeavoring to curtail priest misconduct by organizational reforms, or (B) fatal secrecy and being duplicitous, while hoping to ride out the storm by vigorously resisting criminal charges and financial claims.
By 2012, the consequences of the original choice of Plan B made by 1992 were irreversible and dismal. The relentless governmental forces applying the rule of law were steadily crashing through the Vatican’s defenses in many countries.
Leaving compelling Gospel mandates aside for a moment, Plan A’s transparency choice had entailed high risks of (1) significant financial liability, (2) some leadership prosecutions and (3) indeterminate reputational damage, i.e., “scandal.” To successfully avoid Plan A’s risks by choosing Plan B’s secrecy, it is evident that Plan B would at a minimum have required the CEO, in this case, the pope: (a) to accept the ruthless handling of victims’ claims, (b) to seek significant influence over prosecutors’ political superiors and over corporate media coverage, and (c) to require maximum secrecy, tight discipline and financial controls throughout the organization. To maintain secrecy, bishops had to be chosen on the basis of their unswerving blind loyalty, and persons perceived as potentially “uncontrollable,” like married or female priests, had to be forbidden. To maintain tight discipline, maximum sexual repression had to be required, or so it appeared to the Vatican.
The  incontrovertible disclosures from the just completed Philly criminal trial of two cardinals’ former top aide are clear, detailed and unambiguous.  These unchallenged disclosures are unaffected by any outcome of complicated legal charges against the top Philly aide, Monsignor Lynn, relating to conspiracy and endangerment. The outcome of the charges against Lynn cannot negate the major disclosures he made about his superiors’ massive cover-up.
Plan B was clearly chosen and followed in Philly. The implications for the Vatican are most troublesome. The Vatican’s key Philly executives, over a dozen bishops, including three prominent cardinals, have been shown to have pursued for decades Plan B, with Vatican acquiescence if not occasional direction. It appears obvious that the Philly Plan B approach was and may still be the standard operating procedure for the worldwide Catholic Church.
The catastrophic consequences for the Vatican of having chosen and followed Plan B are now cascading through Rome and feeding into other Vatileaks revelations. Together, they are inundating and threatening the continuation of the current imperial papacy, which now, along with its worldwide bishops, is potentially facing unprecedented criminal charges and  financial liability with no relief in sight.  Meanwhile, contributions from Catholics, the Church’s life blood, are being seriously negatively impacted by the scandal.
The links of the Vatican to the Philly case have been and are both extensive and long standing.  Ironically, the still unfolding failure of Plan B is resulting in the realization of many of the risks that were inherent had Plan A been pursued and failed, with even worse consequences than the Vatican may have anticipated.
PAPAL STONEWALLING 40 YEARS AFTER WATERGATE
Forty years ago, the Washington Post‘s top editor and his two key reporters investigating the Nixon White House, were told by a then secret whistleblower to “follow the money.” They did, leading to the first resignation of a U.S. president following the “Saturday Night Massacre” when President Nixon fired the Watergate Prosecutor, Harvard Law School’s Archibald Cox. Two years ago, this editor’s wife compared the pope’s current plight to Nixon’s Watergate scandal and called upon the pope to resign.
Having worked for Archibald Cox as a law student, I then indicated to the pope in a Washington Post article two years ago that Prosecutor Cox would surely have observed that the pope would fail if he continued following a Nixon-style stonewalling strategy on priest sexual abuse of children, especially in this Internet age. The pope didn’t listen. He is now reaping what he sowed.
Last Saturday night, the pope met privately with three trusted senior cardinals apparently to assess their joint survival plans in the midst of continuing leaks of more embarrassing papal documents, even after the firing of the pope’s top banker and the arrest of his butler, evidently both actions having the pope’s blessing. Complicating this are new reports that the Vatican Bank will soon fail many of the European bank regulators’ financial practices tests due apparently to the Bank’s past misconduct and present shortcomings, including reportedly laundering money for the Sicilian Mafia.
Meanwhile, Italian investigators are continuing to analyze numerous “self-protection” files seized during a recent surprise police raid on the fired Vatican bankers’ home. A few days ago, the pope told Irish Catholics their numerous and massive scandals involving priest sexual abuse of children are a “mystery.”  There are, as indicated below, ways in which the Vatican Bank scandal and the abuse scandal may be related. Not really “mysteries,” it appears, as much as possible crimes that government prosecutors are still currently investigating.
Since the Vatican is frequently secretive and at times even seemingly disingenuous as to its real situation and strategy, one must infer from its reported actions what is really going on.  Some will object that this is “conspiracy theorizing” and disrespectful  and should be avoided. But do Catholics really have any other alternative?
Jesus said unequivocally we must protect children. Today, children are clearly still too often unprotected in the Catholic Church. For example, U.S. bishops recently failed again at their national meeting to make bishops fully accountable for overseeing child protection matters. So Catholics have little choice but to look past the hierarchy’s mystical smokescreens and endless diversions. If there is in fact a continuing conspiracy against children, as there surely appears to be,  Catholics must call it by its correct name. Most importantly, all Catholics are commanded by Jesus himself to do their best to end it.
THE  VATICAN’S CURRENT  COUNSELORS
The pope, and the three cardinals he recently turned to in his effort to save his imperial papacy, are all in their eighties. They share some significant common experiences, which will likely affect their individual assessments and proposed solutions. Much of their critical formative Catholic youth occurred during the papacy of Pope Pius XI, whose formative youth in turn occurred under Pope Pius IX, before the first Vatican Council and the 1870 loss of the popes’ centuries-old Kingdom of the Papal States.  Each of these octogenarians was raised as a young man in an anti-modernist Church, where scholastic philosophy, biblical fundamentalism, rote catechetics, triumphalistic history and monarchical popes reigned supreme.
Each of these octogenarians also as youths lived at critical times in difficult circumstances directly under the totalitarian dictators, Hitler, Mussolini and/or Franco. Each of them has had significant Vatican curial experience, and one of them served for some time in Sicily, where the reported  money laundering originated.  In short, they each grew up in the pre-Vatican II Church. They all have extensive experience with both operating under the pretensions of papal monarchy, as well as dealing with earlier major external threats to the monarchy’s survival.
THE VATICAN’S CURRENT PLIGHT
Can we discern any common denominator to the current papal problems that these octogenarians are assessing? There appears to be one: MONEY,  or at least the related possibility that the Vatican and its worldwide bishops-dominated organization may run out of it soon, at a time when the hierarchy may need more to survive financially, and in some cases to pay the legal costs of defending against criminal prosecution.
Why have a Vatican Bank these days? Why not just rely on international commercial banks the way many international organizations and even some governments do? The answer appears to be that the Vatican Bank has provided the Vatican with both secrecy and profits. Ominously also, at least one major international bank recently refused to do further business with the Vatican Bank, namely, at J.P. Morgan’s office in Milan, Italy’s financial center.
Monarchs, including popes, for many centuries preferred secrecy. If these monarchs  were generally not accountable to their subjects, why let their subjects know about their finances? This is what Popes Pius IX, Pius XI and Pius XII learned and followed, and what the four current Vatican octogenarians were weaned on and apparently generally prefer.
Unfortunately, in today’s digital economy that relies on internationally regulated computerized money transfer systems, even local banking has worldwide financial and digital connectivity. After the 9/11 attacks revealed terrorist exploitation of a loosely regulated “funds transfer system” among banks, international bank regulators began to demand greater transparency and policing of secret accounts. This apparently was hardly a welcome development for the Vatican Bank.
This post 9/11 regulatory development explains the new bank regulatory environment that may be flushing out some shady Vatican Bank transactions, but it does not really explain why after the several major Vatican banking scandals that had already occurred on these octogenarians’ watch, the Vatican is apparently still engaged in questionable financial transactions. Some Vatican Bank officials had to have been aware of these transactions and their questionable character, yet permitted them. Why? Was this the source of friction with the pope’s fired banker? This will likely be disclosed more completely by governmental regulators very soon.
A common explanation, found in other banking scandals, is that secret transactions are often also significant sources of bank profits. Was this very important to the Vatican? It would be if there were a perceived need that generating greater profits is a key part of the Vatican’s current strategy. The Vatican really doesn’t issue comprehensive and independently certified profit and loss statements that one might rely on, but it seems clear the Vatican has an increasing need for more money. Disgraced child sex abuser,  Maciel, seemed to understand this well with his frequent cash payments to influential Cardinals and reportedly even to Pope John Paul II as well.
Vatican revenue reductions surely are  resulting from the mass exodus from the Church of Catholics in wealthier Western countries, who obviously take their contributions with them. Some in European countries in these tough economic times also are calling for ending or reducing the large existing government subsidies to the Catholic Church. The pursuit of critically needed additional Church revenues has had repercussions even beyond possibly leading to apparent financial misdeeds at the Vatican Bank.
It appears that greater attention is being given currently by the Vatican to large papal donors such as members of the Knights of Malta and The Papal Foundation and to the leadership of the Knights of Columbus. It also appears that a form of “quid pro quo” for greater contributions to the Vatican from  some of the wealthiest donors is greater papal support for national political parties whose policies advance the interests of the wealthy donors.
For example, in the U.S. the current papal anti-contraception “religious liberty” crusade appears directed at electing a political party that will extend the Bush tax breaks that favor the 0.1 % wealthiest, while support for preserving U.S. government programs for the poorest donors is being postponed by U.S. bishops until after the election. This crusade is supported by members of the Knights of Malta and Carl Anderson, head of the Knights of Columbus. Anderson is also a former Reagan Administration staffer and on the Vatican Bank’s supervisory board.
In return for papal support, the pope can likely be expecting his U.S. donors (A) to contribute some of their many billions of dollars of U.S. federal  tax savings to the Vatican and (B) to support the pope and bishops’ lobbying efforts to reduce the risks for U.S. bishops of Federal criminal prosecution and financial liability, including by appointing more “pope friendly” U.S. Supreme Court Justices to replace the several expected to retire soon.
Moreover, a significant part of the Vatican’s recent multi-year investigation of the American Sisters has been related to assessing their financial assets. Given last year’s legally contested effort by Boston’s Cardinal O’Malley to get more control over some Boston Sisters’ pension financial reserves, it is likely that the recent and continuing attempt of the Vatican to get quick control over many American Sisters’ religious orders has some financial motivations.
So clearly the Vatican is experiencing some significant revenue stresses that appear to be playing a key role in some of the Vatican’s actions which are often wrapped in smokescreens like opposing contraception and masturbation, or associating with the prominent moral theologian, Fr. Charles Curran, who is apparently still on the Vatican’s hit list. It does not yet appear that the Vatican is seeking to get a piece of the Girl Scouts’ cookie revenues, but stay tuned, it is still not over! Who would have thought the pope would try to push to make his anti-contraception insurance position as the law of the land in the U.S.?
What about the Vatican’s expenses? The escalating and significant negative financial impact on the Vatican,  and on the worldwide bishops as well, of the sex abuse scandal may be the major financial factor driving current Vatican policy. The costs are in the billions and are likely to continue for many years to come in more and more countries.
Having chosen Plan B above, the current Vatican leadership seems incapable of containing the abuse scandal effectively or efficiently. As the pope told the International Eucharistic Congress meeting in Dublin last Sunday, he thinks the abuse scandal is a “mystery.” Will he and the other octogenarians solve this mystery? The odds are against this.
The choice of Plan B appears to have had other implications. Clearly, one way to curtail priest abuse is by expelling predatory priests more quickly and expanding the priest candidate pool by permitting married and female priests to replace them. In lieu of this needed expansion, the Vatican instead has pursued ineffective half-measures like moving around foreign priests, poaching Anglican priests and pushing “retro” priests from the cult-like reactionary groups. This has mainly failed to solve the problem.
Theologically, married priests are clearly permitted. And the pope’s own Pontifical Biblical Commission has indicated there are no Scriptural impediments to female priests.
So what’s the problem? Under Plan B above, it was essential  to be able to keep the hierarchy’s secret sins. To do this new bishops have evidentally been picked in part for their willingness to maintain the secrets. Eventually, married and female priests would likely have wanted to know the “secrets.” Until now, it appears that the Vatican had concerns that married priests and women priests presented too great a risk and might not keep the secrets, especially about rampant child abuse. Now that the Philly trial and Vatileaks are uncovering the secrets anyway, married and woman priests may be less of a risk for the Vatican.
Will the octogenarians save the imperial papacy? That is very unlikley. The next pope could make a difference, but probably won’t, given the way cardinals have been selected in recent decades. A broad-based ecumenical council held away from Rome with empowered lay and women members could have some very positive potential, but it is unlikley to be called by the octogenarians or existing cardinals in the near term, anyway.

It appears that the only crucial force for change in the Church will be the pressure from criminal and bankruptcy courts throughout the world. It is already beginning to happen. Vatican officials have run out of places to hide, as the Philly trial and Vatileaks are showing us in real time. Instead, some of them are pointing fingers by leaks at others, hoping to enhance their own positions and save their own neck. Too little too late.

8 Ugly Sins of the Catholic Church


8 Ugly Sins of the Catholic Church

If pedophile payouts weren’t enough to convince you the Catholic leadership is often anything but moral, take a look at some of their other sins.

Did the Catholic Bishops wince last week when their leader, anti-contraception Cardinal Timothy Dolan, was exposed for paying pedophiles to disappear? One can only hope. After all, these are men who claim to speak for God. They have direct access to the White House, where they regularly weigh in on issues ranging from military policy to bioethics, and they expect us all to listen – not because of relevant expertise or elected standing, but because of their moral authority.

Ahem.

If pedophile payouts weren’t enough to convince you that this “moral” authority is often anything but moral, take a look at some of their other sins against compassion and basic decency.

1. Excommunicating doctors and nuns for saving lives. In 2009, a 27-year-old mom, pregnant with her fifth child, was rushed to a Phoenix hospital, St. Josephs, where her doctors said she would almost certainly die unless her pregnancy was aborted immediately. The nun in charge approved the emergency procedure, and the woman survived. The local bishop promptly excommunicated the nun. “There are some situations where the mother may in fact die along with her child. But — and this is the Catholic perspective — you can’t do evil to bring about good. The end does not justify the means,” said Rev. John Ehrich, the medical ethics director for the Diocese of Phoenix.

How far are the Church authorities willing to take this “moral” logic? In Brazil last year, with Vatican backing, the Church excommunicated a mother and doctor for saving the life of a 9-year-old rape victim who was pregnant with twins. (At four months pregnant, the girl weighed 80 pounds.) Cardinal Giovanni Batista Re, who heads the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, said “life must always be protected.” Perhaps Mr. Batista Re can explain the Vatican’s 1,500-year tradition of “just war.”

2. Protecting even non-Catholic sex-offenders against child victims. As we have seen, the moral priorities of the bishops are laid naked when they decide who to excommunicate and who not. The doctor and the mother of the pregnant 9-year-old got the boot for approving an abortion, but not the stepfather who had sexually assaulted the child, probably over a period of years. A similar contrast can be seen between the case of the Phoenix nun and hundreds of pedophile priests who were allowed to remain Catholic even after they finally were identified and removed from the Church payrolls.

It gets worse. In New York, a bill that would give child molestation victims more time to file charges has been blocked seven times by the Catholic hierarchy led by none other than Cardinal Dolan. Why? “We feel this is terribly unjust, we feel it singles out the church, and it would be devastating for the life of the church.” In other words, regardless of whether the abuse really happened or what the consequences were for victims, what matters is how much additional lawsuits might cost the Church.  Isn’t that the ends justifying the means?

3. Using churches to organize gay haters. When the Washington State legislature approved marriage equality this spring, fundamentalist Christians across the state organized to reverse the legislation. Even though three quarters of American Catholics think that gay marriage or civil unions should be legalArchbishop Peter Sartain jumped to the front of the pack, decreeing that Western Washington parishes under his “moral authority” should gather signatures for an anti-equality initiative. To their credit, a number of priests refused, and a group called Catholics for Marriage Equality is raising money for ads. In contrast to the Catholic League, which has made the degrading argument that sex between priests and adolescent boys is consensual homosexuality, lay Catholics appear to know the difference.

4. Lying about contraceptives to poor Africans. Of all the mortal sins committed by the men of the cloth, the most devastatingly lethal in the last 30 years has been the Catholic hierarchy’s outspoken opposition to condom use in Africa. In 2003, the president of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Family publicly lied about the efficacy of condoms in preventing both pregnancy and HIV: “The AIDS virus is roughly 450 times smaller than the spermatozoon. The spermatozoon can easily pass through the ‘net’ that is formed by the condom.” The archbishop of Nairobi told people that condoms were spreading HIV.  Some priests told parishioners that condoms were impregnated with the virus.

The motivation for such flagrant falsehoods? The Church has practiced competitive pro-natalism for centuries, but lately anti-contraceptive edicts have been ignored by most educated European and American Catholics, and Italy has the second lowest birthrate in the Western World, at 1.3 per woman. The bishops see this as a “catastrophe” and are looking to Africa as “a reservoir of life for the Church.” They wrap their opposition to contraception in lofty moral language such as that offered by Pope John Paul II: It seems profoundly damaging to the dignity of the human being, and for this reason morally illicit, to support a prevention of AIDS that is based on a recourse to means and remedies that violate an authentically human sense of sexuality. As late as 2009, John Paul’s successor, Benedict, continued to tell poor African Catholics that condoms were “wrong” and even suggested that they were making the epidemic worse. With god-knows –how-many lives lost and children orphaned, he finally softened his stance in 2010.

5. Obstructing patient access to accurate information and services in secular hospitals. In rural Arizona near the Mexican border, women delivering babies by cesarean section were refused tubal ligations because their independent hospital was negotiating a merger with a healthcare network run by Catholics. Worse, when a woman arrived at the same hospital in the middle of a miscarriage and need a surgical abortion to complete the process, she was forced to travel by ambulance to Tucson, 80 miles away, risking hemorrhage on the way. All over the U.S. secular and Catholic-run health systems are merging, and patients are quietly losing the right to make medical decisions based on the best scientific information available and the dictates of their own conscience.

Even when the Catholic-owned hospital is a small part of the merger, administrators insist that Catholic directives apply to the system as a whole. These directives prohibit not only abortions but also contraceptives, vasectomies and tubal ligations, some kinds of fertility treatment, and compliance with end-of-life patient directives. Ectopic pregnancies cannot be handled in keeping with the medical standard of care. As biotechnologies and treatments relevant to the beginning and end of life advance, we can expect the list to grow longer. Patients cannot trust that they will be told other options are available elsewhere.

One of the bitter ironies here is that even wholly “Catholic” hospitals and charities are staffed primarily by non-Catholics and largely provide services to people of other faiths or of none, paid for with tax dollars. In healthcare much of the money flows from Medicare and Medicaid. In 2010, non-medical affiliates of Catholic Charities received 62 percent of annual revenue from the taxpayers – nearly $2.9 billion. Only 3 percent came from church donations, with the remainder coming from investments, program fees, community donations and in-kind contributions. And yet all of those dollars get directed according to the dictates of bishop conscience rather than individual conscience.

6. Slapping down nuns. Catholic charities and hospitals are at some competitive advantage in part because of hard-working nuns, many of whom have skills and responsibilities that exceed their compensation. The bishops are the Catholic Church’s 1 percent; the nuns are managers and service workers –and many have taken the kind of poverty vows that America’s 1 percent is trying to impose on the rest. Because many nuns live in the real world, where suffering and morality are complex, they often make care-based decisions and take nuanced positions on moral questions that the Council of Bishops resolves by appealing to dogma and authority.

In April, the Vatican decided to remind the nuns who’s on top. Rome issued an 8-page assessment accusing the Leadership Conference of Women Religious of disagreeing with the bishops and of “radical feminism.” It appears that their labors on behalf of poor, vulnerable people had distracted them from a more Christian priority: controlling other people’s sex lives—oh, and standing up against the ordination of women. The Archbishop assigned by the Vatican to rein in unruly American nuns is none other than Peter Sartain of Seattle, the same moral authority who has declared a holy crusade against gay marriage.

7. Bullying girl scouts. Unlike the Boy Scouts, who recently earned media and public attention by booting out a gay den-mother, the Girl Scouts have been stubbornly inclusive and focused on preparing girls for leadership. For example, last year a Colorado troop included a trans-gender 7-year-old. That’s a problem for the Bishops, and since up to a quarter of American Girl Scouts are Catholic kids with troops housed in churches, they see it as their problem. To make matters worse, the American Girl Scouts refused to leave their international umbrella, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, which has stated that young women “need an environment where they can freely and openly discuss issues of sex and sexuality.”  The World Association would appear to believe the data that girls who can’t manage their sexuality and fertility are more likely to end up in poverty than leadership positions.

Then again, maybe that’s what the church hierarchy is after. According to an article last month at the Huffington Post, “The new inquiry will be conducted by the bishops’ Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth. It will look into the Scouts’ ‘possible problematic relationships with other organizations’ and various ‘problematic’ program materials, according to a letter sent by the committee chairman, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne, Ind., to his fellow bishops.” We’re talking about an organization run by women for girls facing an all-male inquisition. In today’s Catholic church, leadership still requires a y chromosome.

8. Purging popular and scholarly interfaith bridge builders. Lest some reader assert that the sins of the Bishops are all a consequence of sexual repression – some contorted pursuit of sexual purity that degrades both sex and compassion—it is important to note that the current cohort of Church authorities are as obsessed with doctrinal purity as sexual purity. It would take me many paragraphs to describe their tireless pursuit of purity as well as retired Anglican bishop, John Shelby Spong, does in one:

Hans Kung, probably the best read theologian of the 20th century, was removed from his position as a Catholic theologian at Tubingen because his mind could not be twisted into the medieval concepts required by his church. This action was carried out by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who at that time under Pope John Paul II held the office that in another time gave us the Inquisition. Matthew Fox, one of the most popular retreat and meditation leaders and an environmental activist, was then silenced by the same Cardinal Ratzinger. Professor Charles Curran, one of America’s best known ethicists, was removed from his tenured professorship at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., also by the same Cardinal Ratzinger. Father Leonardo Boff, the best known Latin American liberation theologian, was forced to renounce his ordination in order to continue his work for justice among the poor of Latin America by the same Cardinal Ratzinger. Next we learn that the Vatican, now headed by Cardinal Ratzinger under his new name Pope Benedict XVI, has ordered the removal of a book from all Catholic schools and universities written by a popular female theologian at Fordham University, Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson. Now the nuns are to be investigated. Conformity trumps truth in every direction.

The Catholic tradition defines deadly or “cardinal” sins as those from which all other sins derive. In addition to lust, gluttony, wrath, sloth and envy, the traditional seven include pride and greed, which, to my mind, drive much of the appalling behavior in this list. If an attempt to assert autocratic control over the spiritual and physical lives of lay people isn’t pride, I don’t know what is. And if a willingness to silence child victims to protect church assets isn’t greed, I don’t know what greed is.  The BBC’s revelation last month of money laundering in the Vatican Bank pales by comparison.

To me, ultimately, the sins of the Catholic bishops are “deadly sins” because they kill people, whether pregnant mothers or depressed gay teens or African families, or simply desperate people who are forced into greater desperation by “moral” priorities that distract from real questions of well-being and harm.

What the Bishops will have to account for when they meet their maker, none of us can say. For some American Catholics, the process of holding them to account has already started. The Women Religious have pushed back against the condescending “assessment” issued by the Vatican. Small groups of lay Catholics have rallied to their support. Picketers meet monthly outside Sartain’s cathedral to protest his stance against equality. The Franciscan brothers issued a statement of solidarity with the nuns, many of whom have remained solidly focused on economic justice instead of sexual transgressions.

Given the arrogant cruelty of Church leaders, criticism to date has been remarkably tempered. As the Bishops flash their moral authority in the White House and media and pulpit, clothed in white robes and draped in crimson, they should be glad they aren’t eyeball to eyeball with Jesus himself. As the writer of Matthew tells it, he called out the corrupt religious leaders of his day in no uncertain terms: Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men’s bones and everything unclean.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington and the founder of Wisdom Commons. She is the author of “Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light” and “Deas and Other Imaginings.” Her articles can be found at Awaypoint.Wordpress.com.

 

 

Galway priest silenced by Vatican is set to return to public ministry


Galway priest silenced by Vatican is set to return to public ministry

June 14, 2012 – 7:30am

Fr Tony Flannery to be one of preachers at Novena in Esker next week

By Bernie Ní Fhlatharta

A Galway Redemptorist priest who was silenced by the Vatican because of his criticisms of the Church in relation to their response to clerical sex abuse in Ireland will be returning to public ministry next week.

Fr Tony Flannery, who is based in the Redemptorist Monastery in Esker, will be welcomed back by his congregation and colleagues there on Tuesday with the start of the Order’s annual Novena.

Fr Flannery, along with two Redemptorist colleagues, Fr Brendan O’Rourke and Fr Patrick O’Keeffe, will be preaching at the Novena, which focuses on the virtues of living a good Christian life.

The Attymon native publicly supported Taoiseach Enda Kenny’s call in the Dáil for the Catholic Church to apologise for its handling of clerical sex abuse. Fr Flannery was a regular contributor to the Redemptorist magazine Reality, in which he aired his views and support of the Taoiseach.

Just before Easter, Fr Flannery was ordered to take time off for spiritual reflection, which he did. Part of that dictat was that he stop writing for Reality, after the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith objected to some things he had written in various articles and on the Order’s website.

Following almost two months away from his ministry, negotiations with his Redemptorist superiors have led to his return.

This week, Fr Flannery told the Connacht Tribune that he was looking forward to returning to public ministry.

“I haven’t ministered since Easter but I will be returning next Tuesday on the first day of the Novena and I will be preaching at that every third day, alternating with my colleagues,” he said.

from the link: http://www.galwaynews.ie/26297-galway-priest-silenced-vatican-set-return-public-ministry

 

Church assisting paedophile priests


Church assisting paedophile priests

Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie

June 15, 2012

The archdiocese has disclosed to The Age that it is providing significant financial support to four clergy released from jail after serving sentences for child sex abuse.

Victim support groups say more clergy found either by police or internal church investigations to have abused children are likely to be receiving financial support from different Catholic orders outside the Melbourne archdiocese’s control.

A spokesman for the Melbourne archdiocese said church law required the bishop to ”ensure appropriate financial support is provided to all priests”. ”The archdiocese contributes to rental support and health insurance for four priests who have had their faculties to function as a priest withdrawn, been convicted of child sex offences and completed any term of imprisonment imposed by the courts.”

A fifth paedophile priest within the Melbourne archdiocese, Victor Rubeo, was also receiving financial support until his death in December last year, on the day he was to face a committal hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court over 30 fresh child sex abuse charges.

Director of victims support group In Good Faith and Associates, Helen Last, said the generous financial support to paedophile priests was unjust compared with the financial, physical and emotional hardship endured by those who have been abused.

”This seems to be a weak response in terms of discipline and there should be an examination of the archdiocese’s relationship with clerical sexual offenders,” she said. ”The victims are often left out in the cold with no ongoing financial support and help. The money the [convicted] priests get from the church makes it a very unjust situation and demonstrates no awareness by the church of the seriousness of sexual crime.”

Ms Last called on the archdiocese to disclose how many clergy it had confirmed through its own internal investigations had abused children – but were not reported to police – were also receiving financial support.

A spokesman for the Broken Rites victim support group said: ”If abusive clergy receive ongoing support from the church, this shields the offenders from the harsh reality of the long-term harm that they have done to victims.”

The issue of the handling of child sexual abuse within religious organisations is to be investigated by a Victorian parliamentary inquiry. A state government source has confirmed the inquiry will have the power to override any confidentiality agreements abuse victims have signed to receive compensation from religious organisations.

 

Archbishop Timothy Dolan Offered $20,000 To Priests Suspected Of Child Abuse To Make Them Leave The Priesthood


Archbishop Timothy Dolan Offered $20,000 To Priests

Suspected Of Child Abuse To Make Them Leave The Priesthood

Back when he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, Timothy Dolan offered priests suspected of misconduct with children payments of $20,000 to induce them to leave the priesthood, according to the New York Times. 

 

Back when he was Archbishop of Milwaukee, Timothy Dolan offered  priests suspected of misconduct with children payments of $20,000 to induce them to leave the priesthood, according to the New York Times.

The news came out of bankruptcy filings, and is being publicized by a group representing the interests of victims of child abuse. From the report:

A spokesman for the archdiocese confirmed on Wednesday that payments of as much as $20,000 were made to “a handful” of accused priests “as a motivation” not to contest being defrocked. The process, known as “laicization,” is a formal church juridical procedure that requires Vatican approval, and can take far longer if the priest objects.

“It was a way to provide an incentive to go the voluntary route and make it happen quickly, and ultimately cost less,” said Jerry Topczewski, the spokesman for the archdiocese. “Their cooperation made the process a lot more expeditious.”

This is brutal news for Dolan, who was previously praised very highly for his handling of abuse cases in Milwaukee after the reign of the notorious Archbishop Weakland, who stole from church coffers to pay for the lifestyle of his male lover.

Victims’ groups like Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) will counter that these were corrupt payoffs, or even “bonuses” given to suspected rapists.

The Archdiocese and Dolan will argue that this was a small price to pay. If these priests did not accept this payment they would likely remain on the diocesan payroll for much longer during the long process of defrocking them.

Cardinal Dolan has not offered comment to the press.