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.

Corruption and criminal behaviour is only ever curtailed by identifying and removing the enablers. Law enforcement and the justice system target drug dealers rather than drug users and traffickers and pimps rather than prostitutes. The criminals now operating within the catholic church as a pedophile and pederast web are enabled by a shadow network of bishops and their superiors who at the very least are guilty by association. Some are themselves enmeshed in the activities or manipulate them to their own ends. This is characterised in a manner befitting the mafia consciousness they represent. (Mafia: ‘an organized international body of criminals, having a complex and ruthless behavioural code’)

The catholic church has a 2000 year history based in establishing networks at every level of society from the local community, to regional, national and international levels. Its  organisational strength lies in the web of global communication channels which connect directly from the lowest to the highest levels of the Vatican via its bishops, archbishops and cardinals. This strength is also its weakness for the mechanism operates equally well for good or ill creating at best effective management and at worst indoctrination and ultimate control. When operating for the greater good the body of the church is infused with spirituality, morality and the highest ideals. When infiltrated by opposing forces it is vulnerable to deception and concealment, manipulation and depravity. 

It is becoming clear that very many bishops were aware of the appalling sexual abuses which were taking place over decades but allowed expediency to govern their decisions. This factor has made it virtually impossible for parish priests to report abuses for they are often viewed as troublesome rather than as whistle blowers and vilified for their attempts to inform the hierarchy.  Church protocol is based in Cannon law and demands strict obedience from its priests with a swift response where authority is challenged. As in any hierarchical structure, power is vested at the top, making effective disclosure at grass roots level virtually impossible.

An organisation which creates total dependency at its foundation deepens the conflicts facing priests who are forced to consider the personal consequences of speaking out. Every priest is housed and fed by the diocese he serves, priests normally receive a salary and a package which can include housing, utilities, groceries, health insurance, and retirement insurance. In addition there may be a car and a clothing allowance. Health care and social needs are met and in old age and infirmity, provision is made for residential retirement. While this supports the clergy it also creates dependency, for in the event that they may wish to leave the church (or be forced to leave) they do not have the means to begin a new life, inadvertently creating velvet bonds of servitude. A TRUE PRIEST- Sacked for telling the truth.

Such bondage does not apply equally to the ‘princes of the church’ the bishops who are well rewarded in material terms for their service, residing in the bishops palaces and often amassing great wealth on their rise within the church. Sadly, the price, it appears is obedience for such an environment does not encourage freedom of speech. Bishops who oppose the pope risk reprisal from Rome and may find their career prospects severely curtailed. Strength is to be found in numbers for in reality the bishops and the priests hold the power if it is used collectively and wisely and without self interest. In recent days the American bishops were effectively silenced until the February Synod in Rome. This  risks being one more token event involving the same empty promises as before unless some among the many bishops who continue to serve the church faithfully, find the strength to ensure their voice is heard.  If the church is to survive, it is for each bishop to step forward and speak of what he knows, to be the voice for those who have bravely and often fruitlessly disclosed the torments they have endured. It is the bishops who can and must provide a new structure for the church which allows them to be heard.

See  #Letters to Priests

 

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.

The announcement seemed to shock almost everyone in the room, with the notable exception of Cardinal Cupich of Chicago,one of the Pope’s closest allies in the United States, who was first to respond saying that  that “it is clear the the Holy See is taking the abuse crisis seriously.”  The announcement raises questions about how the decision was made and the role played by the two American Cardinals, Blase Cupich and Donald Wuerl. Cupich appeared prepared and a Washington source stated that Wuerl had advance notice of the decision from Rome. Both cardinals will no doubt face questions from  their American peers.

Many bishops attending the conference are justifiably angry at what they consider an attempt to stop them debating the sexual abuse crisis and a further example of the popes’ increasingly dictatorial and controlling style. The scandals related to the role of numerous bishops in the systemic cover up of child sexual abuse by priests is now viewed as the key factor in enabling predator priests to remain undetected. 

This further intervention by Pope Francis can only fuel  frustration, regarding reports  into the conduct of Cardinal McCarrick and the role of his superiors, in covering up his abuse. An earlier letter by Cardinal Viagno  implicated Pope Francis himself, affirming that he had removed sanctions imposed on McCarrick by Pope Benedict, following which Francis appointed McCarrick Cardinal. (See Covering up the Cover Up)  The ‘open secret’ of McCarricks predatory sexual abuse of seminarians and homosexual liaisons with young priests culminated in 2018, with an allegation by a former altar boy that McCarric had sexually abused him from the age of 13, the abuse continuing over many years. The allegation was found ‘credible’ and McCarrick resigned in July 2018. He was sentenced  by Pope Francis to serve a life of prayer and repentance in a Capuchin friary.  The current investigation into how McCarrick managed to rise in the Vatican ranks despite persistant reports of abuse  brings a wry smile to the lips.

Comments from activists protesting at the bishop’s conference on behalf of survivors were telling. Terence McKiernan and Anne Barrett Doyle, co-directors of BishopsAccoutability.org  describing the move by Francis as a “preemptive strike” by the Vatican against U.S. bishops as they seek to respond to the current crisis of sexual abuse and its cover-up stating  “when the Vatican intervenes, it’s a signal that progress will be less than we hoped. ”Peter Isley, a survivor of clerical sexual abuse who now works with the organization Ending Clergy Abuse, said that the decision from the Vatican effectively means, “We care more about our organisation and our princely titles and positions than enacting measures of accountability.” David Clohessy, the ex-national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) “On one hand it’s disappointing that Vatican officials continue to feel no urgency about this crisis,”…“On the other hand, new policies that bishops are proposing are largely meaningless,”

It is now unquestioned that abusive priests have long been protected  by a hierarchical network of bishops and Vatican officials who turned their backs upon survivors who  disclosed sexual abuse by clergy. The bishops are now left to convince their congregations of their sincerity and desire to take action against predator priests  and those who enable them. It must be hoped that some bishops will find the same courage shown by survivors to confront the Vatican. 

#LetterToPriests

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. 

Robert Ciolek, who left the priesthood and later became an attorney, confirmed an $80,000 settlement he reached in June 2005 with three New Jersey dioceses over his allegations against Cardinal McCarrick and a teacher at his Catholic high school and a Pittsburgh priest who Weurl supervised at the time. The first page of the settlement agreement lists Wuerl among the numerous parties to the agreement. Following new “credible” allegations in 2018 that McCerrick had sexually abused an altar boy 47 years previously, the pope finally accepted his resignation from the College of Cardinals. Meanwhile speculation continues regarding McCarricks involvement in the $200 million Papal Foundation which apparently served as a secret slush fund for corrupt Vatican enterprises, to the tune of tens of millions of dollars.

As calls for Weurl’s resignation grew, a petition demanding that he step down garnered more than 100,000 signatures in just a couple of weeks  A high school named after him in Pittsburgh, had its sign vandalized with his name spray-painted over. Wuerl had attempted to hold onto power by trying to stall the release of the grand jury report through intermediary priests, also named in the report.  A website extolled his considerable record and in a “speaking tour” disguised as interviews,  he suggested that the bishops should investigate themselves. His denial that the report exposing predator priests did not indicate a “massive, massive crisis”, brought intense criticism.

Cardinal Wuerl’s resignation had been submitted to the Vatican two years previously at the age of 75 as required by Vatican protocol but in light of the scandal surrounding the Pennsylvania Report, the resignation was now formally accepted by the pope.  Francis, however, asked Wuerl to remain as the archdiocese’s apostolic administrator until a successor is named.  In a published letter Francis praised Wuerl for his “nobility” in handling the criticism against him further enraging survivors. 

I recognize in your request the heart of the shepherd who, by widening his vision to recognise a greater good that can benefit the whole body (cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 235), prioritises actions that support, stimulate and make the unity and mission of the Church grow above every kind of sterile division sown by the father of lies who, trying to hurt the shepherd, wants nothing more than that the sheep be dispersed (cf. Matthew 26:31).“You have sufficient elements to ‘justify’ your actions and distinguish between what it means to cover up crimes or not to deal with problems, and to commit some mistakes”…However, your nobility has led you not to choose this way of defense. Of this, I am proud and thank you,”… In accepting your resignation, I ask you to remain as Apostolic Administrator of the Archdiocese until the appointment of your successor. Dear brother, I make my own the words of Sirach: “You who fear the Lord, trust in him, and your reward will not be lost” (2:8). May the Virgin Mary protect you with her mantle and may the strength of the Holy Spirit give you the grace to know how to continue to serve him in this new time that the Lord gives you.                                     Vatican City, October 12, 2018.

Wuerl commented that he was deeply touched by the pope’s “gracious words of understanding”. The ‘mistakes’ referred to by Pope Francis were actually crimes. The Pennsylvania grand jury report had recorded  two suicides of young men sexually abused by a priest under Wuerl when he was bishop of Pittsburgh and the loss of innocence for scores of minors sexually exploited by priests under his authority and the incalculable loss of faith can only be imagined. A diocesan website creates further incredulity, noting the cardinals’ many achievements and reminding that he “Oversaw the production of an archdiocesan series of guides called ‘Keeping Kids Safe’ to educate parents on recognising, reporting and protecting their children from abuse.”…..the archdiocesan chancellor, Kim Vitti Fiorentino lamented that Wuerl’s “pioneering leadership in the enhancement, implementation and enforcement of historically innovative child protection policies was overshadowed by the (Pennsylvania grand jury) report’s flaws and its interpretation by the media.”

While Weurl has resigned as archbishop of Washington he remains a cardinal.  Significantly he is still part of the powerful College of Cardinals and one of only 10 American cardinals who could choose the next Pope. McCarrick remains a priest, in fact an Archbishop, he lives in comfort with a church stipend, free healthcare, free housing, and presumably free legal counsel. Church authorities just moved him to a well-appointed monastery St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria, Kansas, within a block of Victoria Elementary School. The principal had not been notified and presumably parents remain unaware. Neither Weurl nor McCarrick have been charged with criminal offences.

#See Letters to Priests

CLERICAL ABUSE IN PLAIN SIGHT

WHEN DOES SACRED RITUAL BECOME A CLOAK FOR ABUSE?

Perhaps the most shocking aspect of the following videos is the willingness of parents to subject their children to questionable aggressive behaviour by some priests which would never be accepted in secular life. Parents standing by as their infant is slapped by the priest or obediently queuing in line with their children at the altar to receive the priests ‘blessing in the form of what can only be described as physical assault. Their deference to the priests in question demonstrates the effectiveness of religious indoctrination and goes some way to explaining how the sexual abuse by clergy could have continued unchallenged for so long.

The recent video of the baptism of a baby where an elderly priest slapped the baby has to be seen to be believed and understandably went viral.


The elderly French priest described the assault on French radio as ‘not that severe…somewhere between a caress and a slap’  saying that he was ‘just trying to calm the child down.’  Surprisingly, the parents of the child have accepted his apology for his ‘clumsiness‘. His bishop has  suspended him from all baptisms and marriage celebrations, describing the incident as ‘a loss of coolness that can be explained but not excused’. stating  that ‘a baptism can be long and the baby was crying a lot’...‘it is regrettable but understandable and great age certainly played a part’.

Infant baptism is a profound sacrament of the Christian church using water as a symbol of purification and renewal, denoting acceptance into the Christian family. 

 

The sacrament commemorates  the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist in the River Jordan. The way the ceremony is performed varies by denomination, most often using water to gently mark the forehead of a baby with the sign of the cross and to pour water over the crown of the head. This is referred to as ‘affusion’ from the Latin meaning  ‘to pour on’ alluding to the Pentecost event when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the disciples. Total immersion is practised by some denominations, including the Eastern Orthodox and some Roman Catholics. While respecting all religious traditions, it must be said that repeatedly immersing a baby’s head completely under water would be construed by most as child abuse. 

 

 

And what are we to make of a priest who physically assaults children on the altar in the guise of giving ‘a blessing’.


Whatever the supposed intention, the video explicitly shows aggressive physical contact causing apprehension in the children. The priest aims a kick at one small boy who crawls away on all fours in an attempt to avoid ‘the blessing’ while a woman holds her head in anticipation of the shaking.

Such behaviour is marginal, however it reveals an implicit aggression which should be confronted wherever it is found.  If we refuse to recognise and identify such overt, violent behaviour on the altar we can not hope to address it when it is hidden in its more sinister expression as the sexual abuse now plaguing the church.  As a consequence our children will remain unprotected through our complicity.

Follow: #Letters to Priests

 

“The words Presidents use can start wars or move markets”

Language is social – It is the tool that conveys traditions and values related to group identity, a means of expressing our thoughts, feelings and intentions to those we are talking to. Used respectfully it enriches and enables, used negatively it can demean and even demonize both individuals and social groups.‘Transliteration’ is a particular form used to emphasise something important that a writer or speaker would like to express. It can be framed to be inclusive, i.e. encompassing divergent views or groups, or be divisive, promoting disagreement or open hostility. It requires a certain skill. President Trump is no orator and is limited to hyperbole, devoid of diplomacy and nuance, using the basic principles of repetition, simplistic ideas and short phrases known to appeal  to voters’ emotions, rather than their intellects. This approach encourages the listener’s imagination, transporting them to a scenario in tune with their beliefs, when this is fear based, deep seated emotions are ignited. Energy is magnified by the numbers present, political rallies providing the perfect environment to whip up passions, creating a perfect storm.

A master of generalisation, Donald Trump’s incomprehensible contradictory rambling speeches are marked by boasting, verbosity and tortured syntax. He is unable to sustain the occasional verbal clarity, even assisted by a teleprompter, due to his inherent impulsiveness and grandiosity and an inability to convey straightforward communication. His reality, unencumbered by a need for truth is at odds with verifiable facts.  Among his more memorable pearls of wisdom he has branded Mexican immigrants as “rapists, criminals and drug runners” and described himself as “ a very stable genius”.

Ben Jacobs

President Trumps inflammatory tweets continue unabated.. He  has encouraged violence towards protesters at his rallies offering to pay legal fees for anyone charged with assault and encouraged police to rough up suspects. While attending a recent rally the President applauded the assault on reporter Ben Jacobs by Congressman Greg Gianforte who was later charged. Trumps  comments  “any guy that  can do a body slam, he’s my kind of guy” bringing predictable cheers and chants from his exuberant audience.

At a time of unprecedented violence involving hate crimes, including the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi embassy in Turkey and the US Synagogue massacre in which 11 people died, President Trump’s  words:  “We have to come together and send one very clear, strong, unmistakable message that acts or threats of political violence of any kind have no place in the United States of America” have a hollow ring.  As the Saudi elite concede that the death of Jamal Khashoggi was ‘premeditated murder’ by a hit squad, Donald Trump prevaricates, considering the words which will be required to justify  retaining the Saudi weapons contract. Meanwhile the widow of Jamal Khashogggi  has declined an invitation to the White House while pleading for help in the  return of his body.

THE INTEGRITY OF LANGUAGE IN POLITICS

The capacity of speech attached to reason makes us unique among creatures. It was perhaps the final despair of the American people in realising that many politicians seem incapable of acknowledging the truth, which birthed the Trump era. Some mistook brashness for honesty, in the vain hope that business savvy might restore their jobs and their houses. The bullying, loutish behaviour which was never hidden was preferable to the lies and slick sophistication on offer as an alternative.. Donald Trump has done what few politicians do, he has delivered exactly what he promised, leaving not only America but the world to wonder.

 

 

 

 

 

POWER OF WORDS – To Heal or Harm

A timely reminder of the power of words at a time when President Trumps rhetoric is causing great concern worldwide with many questioning the part this plays in inciting violence.

ELOQUENCE AND DIGNITY OF EXPRESSION PERSUADES AND CONVINCES, ELEVATING BOTH THE SPEAKER AND THOSE WHO HEAR THE WORDS.

Words have power, the voice expresses the Will and can be used as a tool to inspire or as a weapon to wound. Religions and spiritual movements draw upon ancient traditions incorporating a formula of collective repetitive prayer, chanting and singing to strengthen and unify followers.  Examples being the catholic Rosary, Buddhist chants and Islamic prayers recited collectively 5 times daily.

There is an exact formula used throughout time by those who wish to empower or manipulate their followers by reinforcing and heightening their beliefs. Vocal expression can empower and unify or inflame and divide, certain factors induce momentum and the effect is magnified by intention and numbers.  Powerful delivery charged with emotion can be expected to inspire action for that is its purpose.

Formula:

  • The voice must be activated
  • Repetition of short, simple words or phrases
  • Collective expression magnifies effect
  • Acceleration builds energetic momentum
  • Shared focus projects intention

 The effect of words can be readily demonstrated:

  1. Watch a football crowd as they collectively chant to inspire or jeer at their team, the individual chants are picked up by the crowd who magnify the effect collectively.
  2. Observe the response of the crowd at a rock or pop concert, where artists induce a feeling of well being or euphoria or a total loss of control with aggression.
  3.  Listen to the Gregorian chants of Christian monks or to Buddhist monks chanting the OM to bring about peace and harmony.
  4. Witness the unity and vocal discipline of Islamic prayers, repeated collectively five times daily throughout the world.

Research has shown the effect of the human voice on human growth potential.  Children exposed to prolonged verbal abuse are less likely to achieve appropriate weight for age and more likely to show developmental delays educationally.  Positive encouragement as we know brings results while the damaging effects of physical abuse are all too apparent.  Verbal abuse is now accepted as harmful to health and wellbeing, legally defined as child abuse with legislation protecting children from verbally abusive parents.

Oratory, ‘the power to influence by impacting upon feelings and beliefs’ has been demonstrated throughout history by all who aspire to sway the masses.  The energy is neutral, the consequence decided by motive and intention. Winston Churchill who galvanised the British people in the face of imminent invasion by Nazi  Germany stated: “Of all the talents bestowed upon men, none is so precious as the gift of oratory.” Adolph Hitler employed oratory to persuade and convince a disillusioned German people of his ability to restore power and prestige. He employed the formulae to good effect in vast rallies using focussed imagery and collective chants to whip up emotions. His largely unknown party won 3% of votes in the 1924 elections, eight years later the Nazis were the largest political party and two years later were leading the government. Within three years the world was at war as he conquered a dozen nations.  “I know that men are won over less by the written than by the spoken word, that every great movement on this earth owes its growth to great orators and not to great writers.” —Adolf Hitler, “Mein Kampf,” 1925.

Politicians understand the power of words. Barrack Obama’s ‘Yes we Can!’ and Donald Trump’s ‘America First!’ being prime examples of slogans used to energise their base through repetitive collective chanting. Whether we agree or disagree with the political allegiance, it is irrefutable that inspirational words impact powerfully upon those who hear them, influencing conduct positively or negatively. Language has long been considered a measure of statesmanship, it transcends common or everyday ‘street talk’. We should not misinterpret Donald Trumps’ immature language as ‘straight talking’, used as a political tool it has instant appeal for the disenfranchised, a veiled attempt to appear  ‘a man of the people’.

 

Language Expert: Donald Trump’s Way Of Speaking Is ‘Oddly Adolescent’ | The 11th Hour | MSNBC

 

 

 

 

ROOF FALLING IN ON THE CATHOLIC CHURCH?

WHEN NEIGHBOURS COMPLAINED TO THE SWISS GENDARMERIE  OF THE NOISE  FROM ADJACENT VATICAN APARTMENTS, THEY ATTENDED AND FOUND A COCAINE FUELLED HOMOSEXUAL ORGY TAKING PLACE HOSTED BY CATHOLIC  CLERGY

 The apartment in question was once occupied by Cardinal Ratzinger prior to his election as Pope Benedict. The current resident is Monsignor Luigi Capozzi, secretary to Cardinal Coccopalmerio, Italian media has reported that Pope Francis had been made aware of Capozzi’s predilections before allocating the apartment. Three priests and a high ranking cleric within the Curia have individually stated that Cardinal Coccopalmerio 80, was present at the orgy when gendarmes entered but was instructed by the gendarmerie to leave immediately before arrests were made. 

The Monsignor was arrested high on cocaine and initially hospitalised for detoxification in the Pius Xl clinic in Rome. He is said to have employed Vatican privilege using a luxury vehicle with license plates of the Holy See, which ensured immunity from stop and search, enabling him to  transport cocaine for frequent gay orgies. The apartment building’s main  entrance opens directly onto the piazza of The Holy Office which is Italian territory and outside the control of the Vatican Swiss Guard and gendarmerie. This location facilitates entry and exit without inspection from either the Italian State or Vatican authorities.

Following detox Capozzi  was sent to Montecassino Abbey for spiritual retreat. Even here the thread of scandal continues. The former Abbot of this world famous Benedictine Abbey, Pietro Vittorelli was also previously involved in homosexual orgies held in his Rome apartment. He is currently being prosecuted  for embezzlement and money laundering, stealing half a million euros from the abbey and using the money for numerous immoral activities.

Cardinal Coccopalmerio, a prominent supporter of  Pope Francis, in his liberalisation of the Catholic Church, is known in Rome for generally opposing the removal of abusive priests from the priesthood. In 2012 Don Mauro Inzoli  a member of the clergy (known as ‘Don Mercedes’ due to his love of luxury cars) was found guilty of sexually abusing children and was suspended from all priestly duties by Pope Benedict. Following the election of Pope Francis, Coccopalmerio approached the new pope to support the partial reinstatement of the priest (German Catholic journal Herder Korrespondenz).

In 2014 Francis overturned Benedict’s decision ordering Inzoli to ‘stay away from children’ and to ‘retire to a life of prayer and discretion’. In 2015, Inzoli participated in a conference on ‘the family’ and the police reopened the caseInzoli, was subsequently found guilty of more than a hundred episodes of abusing children between the ages of 12 and 16 between 2004 and 2008 and sentenced to 4 years and 9 months in prison. The Court heard how the priest had molested the children during confession, on summer camps and even in hospital. One victim told the court the priest referred to a sort of ‘baptism of the testicles’ which he said was a Jewish ritual found in the Old Testament as a sign of affection between father and son. The case is cited in the Pennsylvania Report of 2018. Following a second ecclesiastical trial the priest was eventually defrocked by Francis.

On August 18th 2018 the roof of the church ‘St. Joseph the Carpenters’ collapsed, falling masonry and timbers covered the floor and penetrated the crypt below. Ironically ‘St. Joseph the Carpenters’  is the titular church of  Archbishop Coccopalmerio. (Titular denoting ‘holding the title, without the duties or responsibilities i.e. in name only’. This church is built over the Mamertine Prison which houses the oldest dungeon in existence.Tradition states that Peter and Paul, the disciples of Jesus were incarcerated here to await their deaths decreed by the Emperor Nero. During that time they converted their Roman wardens who were also put to death for their faith. No one ever survived the Mamertine dungeon which was used to imprison the greatest enemies of Rome 2000 years ago. It was comprised of two cells one above the other, the lower one ran parallel to the sewers of Rome which frequently  flooded the dungeon drowning its occupants. 

IT IS DIFFICULT NOT TO DRAW COMPARISONS WITH WHAT MANY VIEW AS THE COLLAPSE OF THE CHURCH WITH A DESCENT INTO A SEWER.

The duplicity of the church and the depths of the wounds now being revealed, provide perhaps one last opportunity to cleanse and cauterise. Sadly, this can not be done through ‘mercy’ as Francis appears to suggest, for justice comes before mercy if the scales are to be levelled. Mercy is the ultimate expression of compassion towards an enemy, an offender, or one over whom you have power, it is not a right and must be earned. This is achieved by first acknowledging what has been lost by those treated so mercilessly for so long and then by making reparation through whatever means.  It requires more than regret, it requires true remorse and an old fashioned word, repentance, a real change of mental and spiritual attitude sadly lacking in the unfolding drama. Those ensnared in promiscuity, debauchery, greed and self aggrandisement have the demonstration of the real St Francis who squandered his youth but turned from a life of wealth and privilege to serve the poor.

The catholic church repeatedly reminds us that its wheels move slowly with change occurring over centuries; it is about to discover that time waits for no man and the change is occurring with or without its approval. The wind of change, already blowing is about to become a hurricane, it does not require the consent of the hierarchy or its congregation and will sweep away the debris of the past.

THE INSPIRATIONAL COURAGE AND FAITH OF THE FIRST FOLLOWERS OF JESUS AND THE EMBRYONIC CHURCH THEY CREATED SERVES AS THE PATTERN FOR THE FUTURE – A CHURCH FOUNDED IN LOVE RATHER THAN DOGMA AND THE REQUEST HE MADE –

“Love one another as I have loved you”

 

See: SEX, POWER AND THE VATICAN BANK

Follow: #Letters to Priests

 

 

 

SEX, POWER AND THE VATICAN BANK

“Our laws don’t require us to tell you…we answer to God”

SCANDALS INVOLVING FINANCIAL ABUSES AT THE VATICAN BANK HAVE BEEN WELL AIRED FOR DECADES. POWER ABUSE TAKES MANY FORMS AND THE LINKS BETWEEN MONEY, POWER AND SEXUAL ABUSE ARE NOW BEING REVEALED.   

The Institute for the Works of Religion (IOR) commonly known as the Vatican Bank, is in effect a privately held firm run by a CEO who reports to a committee of cardinals and the Pope. It is housed in a medieval fortress in Vatican City. The bank was founded by Pope Pius XII in June 1942 “to provide for the safekeeping and administration of movable and immovable property transferred or entrusted to it’.   The pope is the ruler of both the Holy See and the Vatican City State. The purpose of the IOR is stated to be:  to serve the global mission of the Catholic Church by way of protecting and growing its customer’s assets through specialised financial services to the Catholic Church worldwide’

THE BANK HAS BEEN ROCKED BY SUCCESSIVE FINANCIAL SCANDALS FOR DECADES.  A culture of secrecy and untraceable cash transfers made the Vatican Bank one of the world’s most notorious financial institutions. Since much of its money comes from collection plates, the IOR handles unusually large amounts of cash;  money is sent covertly to churches and voluntary groups in poor countries and failed states without functioning banking systems. Religious orders who own 85% of the bank’s funds had deposited around $3.1bn for safekeeping in 2013. They received around 1% in interest, however money invested in government bonds at an average of 3.3% generated profits of more than $70m for the bank.  Continue reading

THE VATICAN ARMY – Small and Deadly

The Pontifical Swiss Guard (also known as  the Papal Swiss Guard) serves as the de facto military unit of the Vatican with responsibility for the security of the Pope.  An ecclesiastical state, Vatican City is the seat of the Roman Catholic Church.  With  its 110 acres it is the world’s smallest fully independent nation-state.  Sovereignty is exercised by the Pope as the head of the Roman Catholic Church, he has absolute  executive, legislative and judicial powers within the city.  Vatican City has its own telephone system, post office, fire brigade, a radio station, its own banking system, an astronomical observatory, and a pharmacy.  In addition Vatican City has its own police force known as the Gendarmerie Corps of Vatican City State which augments the Pontifical Swiss Guard during the Pope’s appearances,

While the Swiss Guards may appear to be no more than a quaint spear carrying medieval remnant, they are in fact an elite force of hand picked warriors selected for their courage and loyalty to the PopeThose who pass the rigorous selection process are sworn in by the Pope himself on May 6th each year. Continue reading

MORE CATHOLIC THAN THE POPE?

IS POPE FRANCIS A BENEVOLENT REFORMER TRYING TO DRAG THE CATHOLIC CHURCH INTO THE 21st CENTURY OR THE LAST POPE, PROPHESIED FOR CENTURIES, WHO WILL PRESIDE OVER THE FALL OF A CORRUPT CHURCH IN THE ‘END TIMES’?

For many, Francis is the long awaited ‘man of the people’ the personification of humility, taking the name in honour of St Francis of Assisi, the saint who rejected wealth for a life of poverty and simplicity. From the outset Francis demonstrated his intention to align with the poor by eschewing the trappings of the papacy; carrying his own bags and paying his own bills, favouring fiats and fords as opposed to the papal mercedes and choosing to live in a modest apartment rather than the papal palace. This along with initial promises to clean up the Vatican Bank, long mired in scandal and corruption, his statement that there would be zero tolerance of clerical abuse and his anticipated reform of the Curia were enthusiastically welcomed. A rock star persona rivalling even that of the much loved Pope John Paul ll resulted.. Continue reading