United States child abuse cover-up bishop resigns


This video from the USA says about itself:

Catholics in Kansas City urge Pope Francis to discipline Bishop Robert Finn

17 February 2014

James McConnell and Jeanne Christensen, Sisters of Mercy Justice Advocate for Human Trafficking, spoke about petitioning Pope Francis to discipline Bishop Robert Finn of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph during a press conference outside the Catholic Center, 20 East 9th Street in Kansas City.

From Associated Press:

Pope Francis accepts resignation of KC Bishop Robert Finn

04/21/2015 7:12 AM

VATICAN CITY – Pope Francis on Tuesday accepted the resignation of Bishop Robert Finn, who led the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

Finn pleaded guilty in 2013 to failing to report a suspected priestly child abuser in the first known case of a pope sanctioning bishops for covering up for pedophiles.

The Vatican said Tuesday that Bishop Robert Finn had offered his resignation under the code of canon law that allows bishops to resign early for illness or some “grave” reason that makes them unfit for office. It didn’t provide a reason.

Finn, who leads the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph in Missouri, waited six months before notifying police about the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, whose computer contained hundreds of lewd photos of young girls taken in and around churches where he worked. Ratigan was sentenced to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty to child pornography charges.

Finn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of failure to report suspected abuse and was sentenced to two years’ probation in 2012. Ever since, he has faced pressure from local Roman Catholics to step down, with some parishioners petitioning Francis to remove him from the diocese.

No U.S. bishop has been removed for covering up for guilty clergy.

Finn remains the highest-ranking church official in the U.S. to be convicted of failing to take action in response to abuse allegations. The Vatican’s failure to sanction or remove him had fueled victims’ complaints that bishops were continuing to enjoy protections even under the “zero tolerance” pledge of Francis.

Even Francis’ top sex abuse adviser, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, had said publicly that Francis needs to “urgently” address Finn’s case, though he later stressed that Finn deserved due process and must be spared “crowd-based condemnations.”

The Vatican last fall sent a Canadian archbishop to Finn’s diocese as part of his an investigation of his leadership. But until Tuesday, there had been no word about what the pope would do.

Finn’s resignation comes as Francis is facing similar pressure to remove a Chilean bishop, Juan Barros, amid an unprecedented outcry over his longtime affiliation with Chile’s most notorious molester, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Karadima’s victims say Barros witnessed their abuse decades ago. He has denied knowing anything until he read news reports of Karadima’s crimes in 2010. The Vatican has defended the appointment. Karadima was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2011 for sexually abusing minors.

Earlier this month, members of the pope’s sex abuse advisory commission came to Rome in an unscheduled session to voice their concern about Barros.

O’Malley subsequently told the pope that the Vatican must come up with “appropriate procedures and modalities to evaluate and adjudicate cases of ‘abuse of office’ ” when bishops fail to protect children.

‘Gay’ ambassador rejected by Vatican?


This 19 June 2012 video is called In Italy, Gay Marriage Efforts Met With Vatican Opposition.

From The Local in France:

Pope ‘rejects’ France’s gay envoy to Vatican

Published: 10 Apr 2015 12:42 GMT+02:00

Pope Francis’ liberal credentials have taken a blow after the Vatican reportedly refused to accept the nomination of the new French ambassador, a close aide of President François Hollande, because he is gay.

Laurent Stefanini, a senior diplomat and French President François Hollande’s chief of protocol, was nominated in early January but the Vatican has yet to accept his credentials, officials in Paris said.

Normally a new ambassador’s credentials are accepted within a month and a half. The Vatican does not usually explicitly refuse an envoy’s credentials, but a prolonged silence after a nomination is interpreted as a rejection.

The Vatican declined to comment when asked by The Local if Stefanini, who is openly gay, was being rejected and if this was due to his sexuality.

Dutch NOS TV, on the other hand, says that Stefanini has never said anything about his sexual orientation. He is not married and does not have children, which makes some people suggest he is gay.

A French presidential aide said that the choice of the 54-year-old to represent France at the Vatican resulted from “a wish by the president and a cabinet decision” and that the president regarded him as “one of our best diplomats.”

French media widely reported that the apparent rejection by the Vatican was because of Stefanini’s homosexuality.

Le Journal du Dimanche quoted a Vatican insider as saying that the rejection was “a decision taken by the pope himself.”

Libération daily headlined its article on the story with “The Pope tarnishes his image.” …

French media reported that Cardinal André Vingt-Trois of Paris had interceded with the pope to back the nomination of Stefanini, who has previously worked as an official in the French embassy at the Vatican.

La Croix newspaper said Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the former Vatican foreign minister who is currently president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, also supports the appointment.

Pope Francis has taken a far less judgemental position on homosexuality than his predecessor Benedict XVI.

“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” he said in an interview shortly after he became pontiff two years ago.

He also said that gay people should not be marginalised but integrated into society.

But the change in tone does not necessarily signal a change in the doctrine of the Roman Catholic church.

Francis has criticised gay marriage and is opposed to adoption rights for gay couples, both of which became legal in France in 2013 amid widespread protests from the country’s Catholic community.

by Rory Mulholland

During all the years of the Cold War, the Soviet Union nominated communists as ambasadors to NATO countries. And NATO countries nominated anti-communists as ambassadors to the Soviet Union. There was no moaning about that, as the Vatican seems to do now. Why did the Vatican not complain when Stefanini was a diplomat to the Holy See before?

After banning miniskirts, Roman Catholics ban maxiskirts


This video says about itself:

Mini-skirt ban sparks underwear protest at Kaposvar University in Hungary – Andry Kolor

12 October 2013

Mini-skirt ban sparks underwear protest at Kaposvar University in Hungary. STUDENTS at a Hungarian university attended class wearing only their underwear to protest against a dress code ordered by the college head.

In a letter to students on Wednesday, the rector of Kaposvar University in southwest Hungary wrote that a conservative dress code – dark suits and shoes for men; jacket, blouse and trousers or long skirts for women – must be adhered to when attending classes or exams.

“From October 1, there is also no place in the university for mini-skirts, flip-flops, heavy make-up, inappropriate fashion accessories, or unkempt fingernails and hair,” the letter continued.

The rector did make an allowance for lighter clothing during warm summer days, prompting some students to make the underwear protest.

“We were appropriately dressed but the class room was so warm we removed some clothing as is permitted,” said one student.

The protestors included male and female students.

Students plan to wear flip-flops and beach towels at another protest on October 7.

Roman Catholic authorities have a long tradition of denying women the freedom to dress how they want. I remember I was in Rome, decades ago. Among my traveling group was a (Roman Catholic) girl, wearing a miniskirt. When we came close to the Vatican, she was stopped, with cries of ‘Scandaloso!!’ (scandalous, in Italian).

Inspired by Roman Catholic ideas about what ‘modest’ women should wear and not wear, Italian politicians of Silvio Berlusconi‘s party ban miniskirts.

As people could read earlier on this blog:

Polish conservative Catholic lawmaker Artur Zawisza has proposed the introduction of legislation against “sexual temptation” which may include penalties for wearing miniskirts or heavy make-up as well as low-cut or see-through blouses.

Now, if Roman Catholic authorities ban miniskirts, it might look like a safe option to wear a maxiskirt? Forget it.

Translated from the site Joop.nl in the Netherlands:

March 31, 15 09:44

Flemish school bans, after headscarves, long skirts

Catholics want to bother Muslims

A Flemish Catholic school forbids students to wear long skirts or dresses. At the Ursuline monastic order school in Mechelen there is already a ban on headscarves. The school emphasizes the house rules, but according to victims these are applied only to Muslim girls.

Let us look at the patron saint of the Ursuline monastic order, Saint Ursula.

Saint Ursula, by Benozzo Gozzoli

Here she is, as depicted by Italian painter Benozzo Gozzoli about 1460. Note her very long skirt length. And note the very long skirt of the small nun of Ursula’s order, kneeling for the saint. That nun also wears (shock horror!) a headscarf.

Ursuline nuns in 2004

And here is a photo of 21st century Ursuline nuns.

Saint Ursula would be barred from her own school in Belgium today. So would her nuns. Unless, as the Joop.nl article says, the rules, officially for everyone, are only applied against Muslim girls

It reminds me of someone who said that if Jesus Christ would be a member of any of many Christian churches of today, then he would immediately be excommunicated.

Holocaust denying ultra-right Catholics’ war against Pope Francis


Women sat on one side of the aisle, their heads – even the youngest girls – covered in scarves. Photograph: Jonathan Watts for the Guardian

This photo shows women during the illegal ordination of a priest in Nova Friburgo in Brazil by ultra-right Roman Catholics. The women sat on one side of the aisle, their heads – even the youngest girls – covered in scarves. This tendency within Roman Catholicism is Islamophobic. However, one hears their fellow Islamophobes far more about similar seating in some mosques (definitely not in all mosques) than about these Catholic fanatics.

Unfortunately, the existence of these fanatics has nothing to do with it being April Fools’ Day now …

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Ultra-traditional Catholics rebel against pope in Brazil: ‘He is less Catholic than us’

In Dutch there is a proverb: ‘To be more Roman than the pope’, meaning fanatical extremism.

Hailing from around the world, a group led by an excommunicated bishop call themselves a ‘resistance’ movement against Vatican reforms. The response from the Vatican was swift and unequivocal: ‘Excommunication is automatic’

Jonathan Watts in Nova Friburgo and Stephanie Kirchgaessner in Rome

Wednesday 1 April 2015 11.00 BST

In a secluded monastery in south-eastern Brazil, a breakaway group of ultra-conservative Catholics gathered to participate in an act of rebellion against the pope.

The setting could hardly have been more tranquil: rolling green hills, purple-glory trees, palm leaves swaying in the wind and a temporary chapel made of breeze block walls and a tin roof left partially open to the elements.

But the 50 or so priests, Benedictine monks, nuns and other worshippers who file into Santa Cruz monastery on Saturday were no ordinary congregation. Hailing from Europe, the US and Latin America, they described themselves as a “resistance” movement against Vatican reforms.

In favour of Latin services – and fiercely opposed to ecumenism, freedom of religion and closer relations with Judaism – they had come to defy the authority of Rome with the ordination of a new priest by an excommunicated bishop, Jean-Michel Faure.

It was the second such ceremony in the past month: Faure was consecrated here without papal approval only two weeks ago by the Holocaust-denying British bishop Richard Williamson. In response, both clerics were automatically ejected from the church, but this has not stopped the group’s drive to build an unsanctioned clergy.

The ceremony harked back to an earlier, more conservative age. Women sat on one side of the aisle, their heads – even the youngest girls – covered in scarves. Over three hours, the liturgy was almost entirely in Latin, as were the hymns sung by a choir of monks accompanied by a nun on an electric organ.

Before his ordination, brother André Zelaya de León prostrated himself before the altar and then rose to his knees for a blessing on his tonsured head by Faure. At times, the prayers were so quiet that they almost drowned out by the cicadas and birds in the trees.

Apart from the digital cameras, cellphones – and the electric organ – the ceremony would have been recognisable to centuries of Catholic believers before what today’s ultra-conservatives consider to be the wrong turn taken by the Catholic church with the democratising reforms of the 1962 Second Vatican Council.

After the mass, Faure told the Guardian the Vatican was smashing tradition, and going against the teachings of Pius X, a staunch conservative who was pope between 1903 and 1914.

“We do not follow that revolution. The current pope is preaching doctrine denied by Pius X. He is less Catholic than us,” he said. “He does not follow the doctrine of the faith that are the words of Jesus Christ.”

The Vatican’s response to the ordination was unequivocal.

“Excommunication is automatic,” a spokesman said. He added: “For the Holy See, the diocese of Santa Cruz in Nova Friburgo does not exist. Faure can say what he wants, but a Catholic, and even more so a bishop, obeys and respects the pope.”

Faure, a French cleric who has worked in Mexico and Argentina, said he did not accept this ruling.

“Canon Law states that excommunication is valid if it follows a mor[t]al sin. But ours is not a mortal sin. We’re just following our religion. To do this, we need priests, and to have priests we need bishops.”

He compared his situation to that of other Catholics in history, such as Joan of Arc, who were initially excommunicated but later recognised for their contribution to the Church. “Although we are a minority now, if you look at history, we are a majority. There [are] all the saints, 250 popes and all the Catholics who think exactly as we think.”

Faure said he only reluctantly become a bishop in case Williamson died in an accident, which would leave the group without the means to ordain priests.

Though he did not say it, the French bishop may also be replacing his British counterpart as a spokesman for the movement. Williamson has repeatedly stirred up controversy with comments denying the Holocaust, … warning that Muslims are taking over Europe, and claiming that women are dominating corporations and the military because they are not fulfilling their natural role “making babies”.

Williamson was one of four bishops illegally ordained in 1988 by a French Roman Catholic archbishop called Marcel Lefebvre, the founder of the Society of St Pius X and an outspoken critic of the liberalisation of certain church practices following the Second Vatican Council, including the widespread use of vernacular language rather than Latin in mass, inter-faith dialogue and efforts to communicate with the secular world.

Lefebvre and all four bishops were immediately excommunicated for participating in the illicit ordinations, but their movement has been a thorn in the Vatican’s side ever since.

Only about one million Catholics – or .01% of the Catholic population – describe themselves as followers of St Pius X, but successive popes have attempted to heal the rift with them.

In 2009, Pope Benedict ignited controversy by lifting the excommunication of the four bishops and even promised the rebel group autonomy from bishops they considered too liberal.

This quickly backfired when it was revealed that Williamson had alleged that no Jews were killed in gas chambers, that the US orchestrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks and that freemasons were conspiring to destroy Catholicism.

The Vatican said at the time that Benedict had not been aware of Williamson’s views on the Holocaust. …

In contrast to his predecessor, Pope Francis has paid little attention to the ultra-conservatives.

Williamson has declared that he does not intend to start a new society, but the movement has now created a new bishop and a priest, and Faure claimed that there were at least two bishops in the Society of St Pius X who sympathised with the self-styled “Resistance”.

“If Bishop Lefebvre makes a deal with Rome, many people will leave the society. They won’t accept capitulation,” he said.

In conversation, the traditionalists appear to be hoping for a divine and dramatic intervention. Williamson, who describes himself as a “bloody-minded Brit”, has said he expects a “gigantic chastisement” such as Noah’s flood.

Faure talks more of a coming third world war.

“It would be horrible, but it would change the world. But the day after wouldn’t be like the day before,” Faure said, pointing to the conflicts in Ukraine, Syria and Iraq. “It would change many things in the world. It would be a new approach in many aspects and why not, in religion.”

For the moment, however, their group of roughly 55 rebel clergy has to rely on stubborn faith.

René Trincado, a priest from Chile, who was expelled from the Society of St Pius X in 2013 because he opposed an accord with the Vatican, is among those at the Santa Cruz monastery, which he described as the base of the resistance operations in Brazil.

“We’re not afraid of excommunication. It has no validity,” he said.

Additional reporting by Shanna Hanbury

British Christians against Trident nuclear weapons


This video says about itself:

2 March 2015

Blockade of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield, West Berkshire, where the UK’s Trident nuclear warheads are assembled.

By Joana Ramiro in Britain:

Christian protesters blockade Burghfield nuclear facility

Tuesday 31st March 2015

A GROUP of Christian activists blocked the entrance to Britain’s main nuclear arsenal yesterday, chaining themselves together, praying and demanding an end to the Trident nuclear programme.

Lying in the gateway to Burghfield Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), the anti-nuclear campaigners marked the beginning of Holy Week and of the general election campaign period.

As a final decision on the renewal of Trident is expected to be taken in 2016, protesters also called on all parties to state their intentions on the matter.

Speaking from the Berkshire site, campaigner Emma Anthony told the Star: “The Parliament dissolves today and we want people to know that during the general election, during the run-up to it, Trident needs to be an issue.

“All parties need to give a statement on Trident in the same way that they are expected to talk about the NHS, immigration, Scotland.

Trident needs to be an election issue — Trident renewal is illegal, so we are trying to prevent it from happening.”

She added that Trident represented “ransacking God’s creation — it’s designed to cause indiscriminate harm.”

Ms Anthony and six other campaigners travelled from across the country to disrupt production at the nuclear site for over three hours.

The demonstration at Burghfield — which finished with hymns being sung — followed an ecumenical vigil at the neighbouring AWE Aldermaston facilities the day before, which was Palm Sunday.

The loose network of Christian activists of all denominations said the timing of the protests was also important because, in Holy Week, “Jesus turned over tables in the temple, confronting the political and military powers of his day.”

Campaigner Jo Frew said: “Nuclear weapons are a threat to everything I believe in: peace, justice, and the wellbeing of creation.

“We see in Jesus’s actions a clear imperative that faith compels us to act.

“That is why we are here today to call for an end to the atomic weapons industry and for Trident not to be replaced.”

Scientology cult still hounding critic after forty years


Scientology critic Paulette Cooper

From the Daily Beast in the USA:

03.29.15

Scientology Former Public Enemy No. 1 Is Still Spooked, 40 Years Later

When Paulette Cooper was the church’s only public critic, she says she faced a ‘campaign of intimidation and destruction.’ Four decades later, despite the church’s denials, she tells The Daily Beast it’s not over.

Forty years after skewering Scientology as a “mental health cult” in her historic exposé, author Paulette Cooper is convinced the church is still keeping tabs on her. She sees the church planting operatives in the nail salon. She believes Scientologists are scrambling her travel plans. They approach as college students writing research papers, she says.

Cooper was the first and for years the only public critic of Scientology. Then she became the church’s Public Enemy No. 1. Ultimately, she was joined by defectors‚ many of whom will appear in Sunday’s HBO documentary based on Lawrence Wright’s book Going Clear.

“I’ve had Scientology spies on me since 1969, and here we are today. How many years is that that I’ve had to deal with these people?” Cooper told The Daily Beast.

In a statement to The Daily Beast, Church of Scientology spokeswoman Karin Pouw said Cooper’s claims are meritless—and maybe even borderline paranoid. …

Paulette Cooper sued the Church of Scientology in federal court for $25 million back in 1981. In the lawsuit, she alleged that in 1969, L. Ron Hubbard and Boston-based Scientologists burgled her therapist’s office, fleeced the state’s attorney general’s offices of Cooper’s correspondence, and planted members in the Better Business Bureau of Boston and at the law firm repping The Boston Globe, which was writing a piece on the church. A church spokesman at the time dismissed the lawsuit, calling it “one more attempt to gain publicity.”

The Church of Scientology and Cooper did come to a settlement in 1985 for an undisclosed sum. …

She says she still attracts refugees from Scientology, all these years later.

Just this week, an alleged defector wrote to Cooper calling the church a “repulsive right wing cult,” in an email reviewed by The Daily Beast. The woman praised Cooper: “You are the reason I left!”

“We told them, ‘I wrote about a scandal of Scientology and come on, nobody is at a hotel for two nights and has a $16,000 valet bill!’”

Approaches from strangers aren’t always welcome. Cooper says she is still traumatized from the hellish experiences she endured beginning in the late 1960s, when as a freelance journalist she started chasing the Church of Scientology for a magazine article. It was then, she says, that the church launched what she describes as a “campaign of intimidation and destruction.”

When Cooper moved into a new building in 1968, she says, 300 neighboring tenants received letters defaming her. “The church said I was a part-time prostitute and that I had sexually molested a 2-year-old baby,” she said. Then came the bomb scares. A team of Scientology operatives, she says, planted evidence that Cooper (allegedly dubbed “Miss Lovely” by the church for her radiant looks) had mailed anonymous bomb threats to the Church of Scientology in New York. They even pulled a partial fingerprint of hers off of a petition, she says. According to news articles from the 1980’s, the FBI uncovered an alleged smear campaign against Cooper, dubbed “Operation Freakout,” during raids of the church in 1977. The campaign allegedly involved impersonating “an effort to have [Cooper] imprisoned or driven insane.”

A low point came in 1973, Cooper says. Cooper says a new friend who was staying at her apartment, a red-headed man who called himself “Jerry Levin,” was secretly a Scientologist. They would swim in her rooftop pool at night, Cooper says, and Levin would try to convince her to stand on a high ledge with him, 33 stories above the street.

“Why on earth would Jerry want me to climb that ledge?” she said. “He was up there. It would have taken the slightest push, and that would have been in it.”

Cooper went on to write a best-selling book about her experiences, The Scandal of Scientology. But the shadow of the church still lingers over her life, Cooper says.

Scientology critic Tony Ortega, who is writing a book on Paulette Cooper titled The Unbreakable Miss Lovely, says the church employed and still employs spies. “Her story is important history because it could happen again tomorrow,” he said. The Church denied the spying allegations in a statement to The Daily Beast.

Today Cooper, an adopted Holocaust survivor whose parents were killed at Auschwitz during World War II, has rebuilt her reputation—but she still believes that Scientologists are spying on her. She remembers her friend and fellow Scientology critic Robert Kaufman, who wrote Inside Scientology, warning her: “They’ll always know what you’re doing because you’re still a threat to them.” (The Church denied this allegation, as well.)

Cooper, 72, says she is certain the surveillance will increase. “I will have to more cautious when [Tony Ortega’s] book comes out,” she said.

When she gets Facebook friend requests, she refuses them. “Unless I personally know them or know of a book they’ve written against it I do not accept,” she said.

She did recently accept one invitation: from Placido Domingo Jr. “He was a Scientologist and now he’s out. I think we can trust him,” she said.

This past week, Cooper had a pedicure at a hotel in Palm Beach, Florida, and met a woman who was reading Cooper’s newspaper column on dogs and cats.

“You’re Paulette Cooper,” she said, apparently as a fan.

Cooper hesitated. “I still had to ask myself: Could she have followed me there?” she told The Daily Beast.
[150328-scandal-of-scientology-book-cover-embed]

Cooper remembers how her mother went to a beauty shop several years ago and was approached by a woman who ultimately tried to fix up her son, a Scientologist, on a date with Cooper.

Church operatives, she says, have approached her as college students writing a Scientology research paper. “That is one of their standard crapolas,” Cooper said. “I came home one time and there was a student waiting in my lobby and she tells me ‘I’m a student I’m writing a paper on Scientology.’”

They’ve allegedly come as perps in the middle of the night. One time, outside her hotel room, she says she heard someone cackling loudly after failing to jimmy the door. “I’m alone and of course I was scared,” Cooper said. “I had double locked the door, of course. The person was jiggling and trying to get in. Then he laughed loudly.”

Sometimes Scientologists, Cooper claims, have messed with her travel plans.

While traveling to California to give a deposition for a Scientology lawsuit, she says, the second leg of her trip was mysteriously canceled. “I said to myself, ‘I can’t tell the flight manager that I’ve written about the church and they’re going after [me]’—they’d think I’m crazy. So I said to them, ‘I’m having a little harassment problems with a former husband and he likes to play little games on me like canceling my flight.’” It worked, and she was allowed to board the plane.

When Cooper and her husband visited Southern California 11 years ago to spend time with “antis”—former Scientologists—they returned one night to find the safe in their Sheraton Hotel room had been tampered with, she says, and a mysterious glove in the sink. “Sometimes Scientology leaves things so you know it’s them,” she said.

When they checked out, she says, the parking tab was $16,000. “We told [the hotel staff], ‘I wrote about a scandal of Scientology and come on, nobody is at a hotel for two nights and has a $16,000 valet bill!’” she said.

(The Church, which dismissed Cooper’s allegations about the valet bill and the canceled flight, did not address the claim about the glove in the sink.)

That Cooper says she is forced to be extra cautious makes sense to Ortega. “Paulette was under more surveillance than she even realized,” he said. “She was subject of five or six operations.

On Sunday, Cooper’s hosting a viewing party for Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, and she’s even invited her new pal from the Palm Beach hotel salon. “I’ve invited her over to watch,” Cooper said. “She’s such an anti-Scientologist and is so excited to watch the show with me. I feel like I want to give her a chance.”

There are some rather serious allegations in the Scientology expose documentary, “Going Clear.”

HBO’s scientology documentary was the channel’s most-watched documentary in nine years.