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 →
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 →
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.
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.
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 →
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 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 →
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 →
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’.Continue reading →
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. Continue reading →