VATICAN COLLUSION

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR REDEMPTION

In November 2018 Pope Francis ordered the US bishops to stand down as they met to adopt new measures to define accountability for those involved in the sexual abuse of children or any cover up. An anticipated policy of zero tolerance and mandatory reporting which would require all allegations to be reported to the police dissolved as Francis deferred the bishops vote, convening his own Summit for February 21 -24  2019.  As catholics wait impatiently for Francis to deliver on his promise of change, the words sound increasingly hollow: “We join in the pain of the victims and weep for this sin – the sin of what happened, the sin of failing to help, the sin of covering up and denial, the sin of the abuse of power.”  In a newly released letter Francis promises  “I would like us to renew our complete commitment to ensuring that these atrocities will no longer take place in our midst.” 

COLLUSION: SECRET OR ILLEGAL COOPERATION OR CONSPIRACY IN ORDER TO DECEIVE OTHERS

As the Vatican announces in a timely fashion that 88 year old Archbishop McCarrick has become the highest cleric to be removed from the church for sexual abuses, this would seem to be an opportune moment to review the role of  Pope Francis in McCarricks life. The charges against the former cardinal include -soliciting sex during confession, decades of abuse of a minor, sexual abuse of adults, and the aggravating offence of the abuse of power.

WHAT DOES LAICISATION MEAN TO AN 88 YEAR OLD RETIRED CARDINAL? 

Under ecclesiastical rule an ordained priest remains a priest even if dismissed from the priesthood, this is because priesthood  is considered by the Vatican to be ordained by God, an indelible sacrament. The process of ‘laicisation’ infers a return to the laity, it is not in itself a punishment, the pope grants laicisation on request to priests who request to leave the priesthood for example to marry. A priest who leaves the ministry for whatever reason ‘loses all rights and duties associated with being a priest, he cannot present himself as a priest and is forbidden to celebrate the sacraments’. However even though he no longer holds clerical status the church obliges him to act as a priest if he finds someone in danger of death who asks for the sacraments, he ‘must hear (the person’s) confession because the most important thing is the salvation of that person’. Such seeming ambiguity lies at the very core of the crisis affecting the Vatican hierarchy today. The clerical belief that they are ordained by God and are accountable only to a higher power places them beyond the reach of statutory legislation which governs the rest of us.

McCarrick was  created Archbishop in 2000 by Pope John Paul ll and elevated to cardinal in 2001. Allegations of McCarricks rampant sexual abuse of seminarians were repeatedly  reported to the Vatican but ignored. Cardinal Vigano a former papal Nuncio  wrote to Pope Benedict in 2006  sending a second memo in 2008 which included material from Richard Sipe a renowned psychotherapist specialising in the treatment of clerical sexual abusers. As a result, in 2009 or 2010 Pope Benedict XVI allegedly placed severe restrictions on McCarrick’s movements and public ministry, not allowing him to travel beyond the grounds of the seminary where he was living and not permitting him to say Mass in public. Despite this he maintained a “robust public presence” travelled internationally, said public masses, made speeches, and accepted awards while maintaining the steady flow of donations to the Vatican through his fund raising.

On his appointment to the papacy Pope Francis subsequently removed Benedict’s sanctions and made McCarrick “his trusted counselor”.  McCarrick continued to travel extensively involved in high level negotiations on behalf of the Vatican. Recounting a meeting with McCarrick in June 2013  Cardinal Vigano stated that he was told  “The pope received me yesterday, tomorrow I am going to China.”. This was corroborated by The Washington Post which reported in 2014  that McCarrick had traveled to China “in the past year” for “sensitive talks on religious freedom.”  Cardinal Vigano has since stated that he informed Pope Francis of the many concerns  in a meeting on June 23, 2013  saying: Holy Father, I don’t know if you know Cardinal McCarrick but if you ask the Congregation of Bishops, there is a dossier this thick about him.  He corrupted generations of seminarians and priests, and Pope Benedict ordered him to withdraw to a life of prayer and penance.”  There was no response.

In 2017 with the Vatican facing global outrage at the growing sexual clerical abuse scandal, Vigano published an 11 page dossier detailing a 30-year cover-up of McCarrick’s behaviour stating that Pope Francis “knew from at least June 23, 2013 that McCarrick was a serial predator. He knew that he was a corrupt man, he covered for him to the bitter end.” That cover-up seemingly involved three popes, three secretaries of state, along with dozens of other very senior Churchmen. Other senior clergy have since confirmed that  pope Francis was aware of the history of abuse.

Following McCarricks belated and hasty resignation in July 2018 as the final scandal broke, Pope Francis ordered that he withdraw to a Kansas Monastery pending the Vatican investigation. Advocates for survivors of clerical abuse have previously questioned the appropriateness of this accommodation which is  located very close to an elementary school. Following the verdict of ‘laicisation’  the Vatican have announced that he “will remain there until until a decision of permanent residence is finalised.” Financial scandals have dogged the former cardinal who is stated to be in a position to support himself financially through ‘private means’  Significant questions remain unanswered regarding where McCarrick – an inveterate fundraiser  acquired his personal wealth during  more than six decades as a cleric.

SO WHO IS McCARRICK?    See: Covering up the Cover Up

See:#LetterstoPriest

Pope Silences the bishops

 

 

 

 

 

Parallel Realities

Efforts to dismiss the recent incident at the Lincoln Memorial  as ‘Fake News’ by President Trump and others is a further example of the current extreme political polarisation in America. President Trump lost no time in tweeting in support of the students and inviting them to the White House, his views predictably retweeted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In  comparison and in the tradition of ‘Walking the Talk’ Wayne William Snellgrove a survivor of the Canadian policy that stole indigenous babies and farmed them out to other parts of the world has extended an invitation to attend a sacred Healing Ceremony  “to the students, their school, their families, their dioceses. All clergy are welcome. ..Nathan will be invited also. Our Elders and Ancestors say that ceremony is the best place we can be .This is where we must go as Indigenous. Covington MAGA hat young incident was sad.  But we must raise above, we must practice our walk. Turning our prayers into action. We show the world, compassion, love and Light. Let us create a space for these youth and their families. This affects us all, and all must be invited. I personally invite these youths to sacred healing ceremony where we will sit and talk with our hearts. We are not asking for you to say sorry. I am are asking you to come sit with us in ceremony and talk from your heart. This is where we must go. This invitation has no expiration date. We will be waiting for you in ceremony.”
Wayne William Snellgrove,
Saulteaux Tribe, Fishing Lake First Nation.

Those who choose to dismiss the warning signs of racial hostility rather than heed them, are as much at fault as those who whip up the media frenzy at every opportunity.  As the media attempts to unravel the facts to determine who or what initiated the incident, the fuller picture is emerging and in fact corroborates Mr Phillip’s account.  Context being everything, it is important to remember that on the day in question several protests were taking place by different groups including a Native American rally to protest against the Dakota Access Pipe Line which Nathan Phillips was attending, while the students of Covington Catholic High School were attending a March for Life anti abortion rally.  Longer versions of the earlier video confirm Nathan Phillips description of what occurred. Four black youths, identifying themselves as ‘The Hebrew Israelites’ who believe black Americans are God’s chosen people, were preaching their beliefs in a provocative manner and shouting racial and homophobic slurs towards a large group of white youths, many wearing ‘Make America Great Again’ hats.  Mr Phillips has described how his protest group were located in their designated area and were coming to the end of their rally, aware of the growing confrontation between the white and black youths which had been going on for some 2 hours, with the group of white youths now numbering some 200.

Nathan  Phillips believed this might escalate into violence and stepped forward between the two groups. The ceremonial drum which he was beating is a symbol of peace, an act of prayer,  ‘the way we communicate with God’. As so often happens when  a third party intervenes in someone else’s argument, Mr Phillips became the target with Nick Sandeman confronting him in an intimidating manner. The students  surrounded them and can be seen and heard ridiculing Mr Phillips with war whoops and ‘tomahawk chop’ gestures. While some have tried to dismiss this behaviour as youthful exuberance, other shouts heard on the video including ‘it’s not rape if you enjoy it’ testify to the hostile environment. Chase Iron Law, an attorney and a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has described how ‘tomahawk chop’ gestures and pseudo ‘war whoops’  incorporated into American culture are an example of ignorance which breeds intolerance. Whether intended or not they are  offensive and constitute a racial slur against native Americans.

 

‘MY DREAM HAS TURNED INTO A NIGHTMARE’ Martin Luther King Jnr

AS THE WORLD CELEBRATES MARTIN LUTHER KING JNR DAY WE REMEMBER HIS ACHIEVEMENTS AND THE PRICE HE AND SO MANY OTHERS PAID TO REMIND US THAT WE ARE ALL CREATED EQUAL.

Nathan Phillips a Native American elder  is a well known activist for their  causes.  While singing a protest song and beating his drum at a Lincoln Memorial gathering he found himself on the fringe of an altercation  between white and black youths. As he tried to pass by he became surrounded by the white youths, many wearing the signature Donald Trump ‘Make America Great Again’ cap, who taunted and mocked him.  One young man blocked his way in a confrontational manner and tried to stare him down but he kept singing and drumming. Phillips has described focussing upon the reason for his protest and remembering his wife who died of cancer four years ago. A video recording of the event has gone viral, drawing outrage and forcing an apology from the Catholic Diocese of the school the youths attend. Ironically the students of Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School were taking part in an anti abortion rally but showed little ‘respect for life’ towards Mr Phillips. Continue reading

SHARING THE AMERICAN DREAM

A HISTORY REMINDER FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP OF THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE

The term ‘Pre Columbian’ civilizations refers to societies affected by the arrival of Columbus in 1492 and the subsequent colonisation by Europeans. Geographically Mesoamerica includes Central Mexico to Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Cost Rica. These ancient societies combined moral codes and spiritual beliefs with the sciences of astronomy, physics and medicine with advanced skills in ceramics and metallurgy.

Amerindians are the indigenous people of North, Central and South America, their history dates back 30,000 years. At the end of the Ice Age their ancestors journeyed from their original home in Siberia, across the Bering land bridge and into Alaska.  By 8,000 BC their descendants, the Native Americans had spread across the entire north American continent. From around 5,500 BC Amerindians became highly skilled farmers, tribes in Mexico cultivated vegetables, raised animals for food and hunted deer and bison, while fish became the staple food of coastal tribes.  After 2000 BC Amerindian tribes developed States, each governing thousands of people with extensive trade routes and established shipping lines across the continents. Their innovative planting and  irrigation schemes ensured their people were fed. The idea of private land ownership was alien to them, land was held communally and worked collectively.  Continue reading

FGM – CULTURE OF ABUSE

How do we differentiate between cultural tradition and what is effectively torture?

MORE THAN 200 MILLION GIRLS AND WOMEN ALIVE TODAY HAVE BEEN CUT (FEMALE CIRCUMCISION) AND THE PRACTICE CONTINUES THROUGHOUT THE WORLD DESPITE LEGISLATION AND THREAT OF IMPRISONMENT.

FGM (female genital mutilation) falls within the definition of abuse under international law i.e. physical,  psychological, emotional, or sexual where the person could not have consented or were pressurised into consenting. It aims to ensure premarital virginity and marital fidelity by reducing the woman’s libido in an effort to resist extramarital sexual acts. Traditionally girls who are cut increase their marriage prospects. FGM is the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia. Cutting is considered a  cultural ‘rite of passage’ to initiate girls into womanhood and is accompanied by communal celebration with gifts bestowed. The procedure is done without anaesthetic, often performed by traditional circumcisers or ‘cutters’ who do not have any medical training. In some countries it may be done by a medical professional in the belief that the procedure is then safer.

  • The procedure is cultural and not part of any religious tradition
  • There are no health benefits and serious complications often arise
  • It reflects deep-rooted inequality between the sexes, and constitutes an extreme form of discrimination against women.

FGM  is found in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and within communities from countries in which FGM is common. Girls are at risk of being returned to their home countries for FGM especially during holiday periods to allow for healing to take place.  It is  is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and age 15, commonly before puberty begins. It is estimated that between 50 and 60% remain unaware that they have been subjected to the procedure if carried out in infancy or early childhood due to trauma memory being suppressed.

Continue reading

Pope Francis – ‘respecting and listening to one another’ ?

Those ruefully considering expanded waistlines and depleted bank accounts common in the aftermath of Christmas festivities might pause to reflect upon the  ambiguous nature of the Pope’s Christmas message.  Speaking from St Peters Basilica in Rome, Francis urged Christians to forgo the greed, hoarding and materialism of Christmas and to focus instead on its message of simplicity, charity and love. 

SURROUNDED BY THE OPULENT OSTENTATION OF A CHURCH OF UNPARALLELED WEALTH, HE SPOKE FROM A GOLDEN PULPIT, WATCHED BY PRINCES OF THE CHURCH RESPLENDENT IN GOLDEN ROBES, SEEMINGLY OBLIVIOUS TO THE INCONGRUOUS IMAGE OF BABY JESUS IN A GOLDEN MANGER.

 

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“Suffer the little children to come unto Me” Jesus

PRIESTS TAUGHT ‘SPECIAL SECRET SIGNS’ TO DEAF MUTE CHILDREN AS COMMANDS FOR SEX ACTS INCLUDING ORAL SEX AND  SODOMY.

Paedophile priests, teachers at the Anonio Provolo Institute for the deaf   in Italy and Argentina  designed  ‘special secret signs’ to initiate sexual abuse of boys, as young as 11 years old. The signs were designed to remain incomprehensible  to those who could understand sign language ensuring secrecy was maintained.The priests had no fear of being caught as  the children were deaf and mute and unable to call for help. Noone could hear the screams of those being abused. Guiseppe, abused for seven years from the age of 11 described how he could not at first understand the meaning of the signs  ‘Then one day it became very clear when one of the priests made the secret sign for fellatio when we were alone, which was followed by him pushing his erect penis into my mouth.’   Priests would make one of the signs to indicate that a boy was taken to appointed rooms under the guise of ‘time out’ or to rest. ‘Sometimes you would see priests coming into the dormitory at night, or you would see friends with tears rolling down their faces and you knew exactly what had just happened. You didn’t need to hear to know.’  Attempts by children to alert parents by writing letters failed because mail had to be given to the abusers making it possible to intercept the letters.

INTERNAL VATICAN INVESTIGATION FAILED TO PROTECT CHILDREN AND ENABLED CONTINUED ABUSE. Continue reading

Where are the Whistle Blowers?

IN A VOTE CARRIED ALMOST UNANIMOUSLY BISHOPS PROMISED THAT THE CHURCH’S DAYS OF CONCEALMENT AND INACTION WERE OVER. CHURCH LEADERS VOTED TO REMOVE ANY PRIEST WHO HAD EVER ABUSED A MINOR AND SET UP CIVILIAN REVIEW BOARDS TO INVESTIGATE  CLERGY MISCONDUCT CLAIMS.

Sadly this vote was taken not in 2018 but in 2002 at a Dallas gathering of bishops. Little it seems has changed. While they imposed new standards that led to the removal of hundreds of priests, the bishops in Dallas specifically excluded themselves from the landmark child protection measures. They contended that only the pope had authority to discipline them, saying peer pressure and  public or private shaming euphemistically called “fraternal correction” would ensure their good conduct. Clearly they were wrong.

Such attempts to maintain internal control through the hierarchical process lie at the very heart of the scandals now engulfing the church.

When a vote was taken at the recent Baltimore bishops conference to recommend the Vatican make public the entire file of the disgraced Cardinal McCarrick, Cardinal Cupich took the floor stating that the bishops should vote down any such measure. Cupich a close supporter of Pope Francis, presented an alternative plan, in line with Vatican policies which would maintain the status quo ensuring any allegation against a bishop would be investigated through the Vaticans’ internal procedures. The surprise proposal is alleged to have been a collaboration with Cardinal Weurl whose resignation the pope was recently forced to accept, due to his alleged involvement in covering up the prolific sexual abuse of McCarrick. Continue reading

POPE SILENCES THE BISHOPS

POPE FRANCIS INTERVENES TO STOP BISHOPS VOTING ON NEW CHILD ABUSE POLICIES  AT  US CONFERENCE OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS

Many bishops see urgent reform as the only way to save the church in light of repeated scandals involving sexual abuse by priests. The agenda at the Bishops bi annual conference held in Baltimore on November 12th 2018, included proposals for a code of conduct for bishops and a lay panel to investigate claims of misconduct or negligence by bishops. These were the proposals.

  • A full investigation into how bishops allowed McCarrick to be promoted
  • Archbishop Carlo Viganò’s claims of a homosexual network acting within the hierarchy
  • Opening of confidential channels for reporting complaints against bishops

Under canon law, only the Pope can hold bishops accountable and this proposal was apparently perceived as a threat by Francis who intervened to delay the vote.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the USCCB, appeared bemused as he announced that the Holy See had insisted at the 11th hour that the bishops should not vote on their own proposals. Instead they must wait until after February when Pope Francis meets at the Vatican with the heads of bishops’ conferences from around the world. Skeptics view this as a further means of delaying long needed action. Continue reading

Bishops Aid Priests Instead of Victims

In August 2018 Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro released his grand jury report which found more than 1,000 cases of child abuse by more than 300 priests  through “wholesale institutional failure that endangered the welfare of children” in all six Pennsylvania dioceses were investigated, including Pittsburgh. The report offered “a window into the conduct” of bishops “and the crimes they permitted to occur on their watch”.  It included Cardinal Wuerl’s involvement (mentioned more than 160 times) in covering up his role in allegedly concealing sexual abuse and transferring various homosexual predator clergy. Weurl denied the accusations, however the Attorney General insisted  “Cardinal Wuerl is not telling the truth.’

When the scandal involving Cardinal Theodore McCarrick erupted in 2018, Weurl denied any knowledge or involvement in a cover up. As bishop of Pittsburgh for 18 years, it is inconceivable that he was unaware of the notorious behaviour of his predecessor.  Wuerl was accused by former papal diplomat Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, of knowing about allegations that McCarrick had sexually abused seminarians but made emphatic denials. “[He] lies shamelessly,” says Vigano, “I myself brought up the subject with Cardinal Wuerl on several  occasions”.  Archbishop Vigano also stated that Pope Francis had personally lifted sanctions imposing ‘house arrest’ against McCarrick by his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, before elevating him to the College of Cardinals.  Continue reading