Homophobic bishops quit in child abuse cover-up scandal


This video from the USA says about itself:

Minnesota Archbishop John Nienstedt Claims Satan Behind Gay Marriage

16 September 2013

Fornicators beware: sodomy, condoms and pornography are the work of the devil.

That’s the message of a speech posted online last week by the Catholic Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John C. Nienstedt. A controversial religious leader with a stridently anti-gay stance, Nienstedt originally made the comments while speaking to the conservative Napa Institute Conference on August 2. The speech detailed the importance of family, as well as the devil’s multiple attempts to weaken the institution of heterosexual marriage.

“Today, many evil forces have set their sights on the dissolution of marriage and the debasing of family life,” Nienstedt said. “Sodomy, abortion, contraception, pornography, the redefinition of marriage, and the denial of objective truth are just some of the forces threatening the stability of our civilization. The source of these machinations is none other than the Father of Lies. Satan knows all too well the value that the family contributes to the fabric of a good solid society, as well as the future of God’s work on earth.”

In Nienstedt’s opinion of course, “family” means specifically a union “comprised of one man and one woman.” Delivered one day after Minnesota began issuing same-sex marriage licenses, the Napa Institute speech is consistent with the archbishop’s public statements condemning gay marriage, notes The New Civil Rights Movement.

Voted Minneapolis blog City Pages’ Best Villain of the Twin Cities in 2013, Nienstedt has “used his position to bully proponents and demonize fellow Catholics who disagreed with him,” wrote the blog’s Jesse Marx. “He donated more than $650,000 of church money to the anti-gay-marriage cause.”

In October of 2012, Nienstedt found himself at the center of a similar controversy when a letter he wrote surfaced in which he tells the mother a young gay man that she must reject her son or go to hell herself.

“I write to inform you that the teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality, as described in paragraphs 2357 and 2358 and 2359 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is rooted in Scripture and based on the Natural Moral Law,” Nienstedt wrote, according to ThinkProgress. “Catholics are bound in conscience to believe this teaching. Those who do not cannot consider themselves to be Catholic and ought not to participate in the sacramental life of the Church… Your eternal salvation may well depend upon a conversation of heart on this topic.”

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Senior US bishops quit after ignoring child sexual abuse

Tuesday 16th June 2015

TWO senior US Catholic bishops quit yesterday after failing to stop child abuse and a former church envoy to the Dominican Republic was charged with paedophilia.

The Vatican announced that Pope Francis had accepted the resignations of archbishop John Nienstedt and auxiliary bishop Lee Anthony Piche of the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis.

Local prosecutors had charged the archdiocese itself with having “turned a blind eye” to repeated reports of inappropriate behaviour by a priest who was later convicted of molesting two boys.

Curtis Wehmeyer, a former priest at Church of the Blessed Sacrament in St Paul, is serving a five-year sentence and faces prosecution for offenses involving a third boy in Wisconsin.

Prosecutors said that church leaders had failed to respond to “numerous and repeated reports of troubling conduct” by Mr Wehmeyer from the time he entered a seminary until he was removed from the priesthood this year.

Canon law allows the two bishops to resign before retirement age if illness or some other “grave” reason makes them unfit for office.

The resignations of Mr Nienstedt and Mr Piche came just days after the Pope approved the creation of a new Vatican tribunal to hear cases of bishops who had ignored abuse by priests.

In April, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of US bishop Robert Finn, who had been convicted in a US court of failing to report a suspected child abuser.

The church also announced yesterday that former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic Jozef Wesolowski had been charged with abusing young boys and possessing child pornography.

Mr Wesolowski was recalled by the Holy See in 2013 after rumours surfaced in Santo Domingo that he paid shoeshine boys to masturbate.

He has since been defrocked and placed under a form of house arrest inside Vatican City pending a decision by the Vatican criminal court on whether to charge him.

Ordained both as a priest and a bishop by late pope John Paul II, Mr Wesolowski is the highest-ranking Vatican official to have been charged with sex offences.

Archbishop Nienstedt resigns after sex abuse coverup charges against archdiocese: here. See also here.

Irish people vote for equal marriage rights


This video from Ireland says about itself:

Vote YES to Marriage Equality

8 May 2015

Sinn Féin video featuring Gerry Adams TD, Councillor Emma Murphy and Mayor of Dublin South, Fintan Warfield calling on people to vote Yes to Marriage Equality on May 22nd.

Irish marriage equality supporters rejoice today

From RTÉ News in Ireland:

Ireland says Yes to same-sex marriage

Saturday 23 May 2015 18.32

Ireland has voted Yes to same-sex marriage, with just a handful of constituencies yet to declare results.

Large crowds have been gathering at Dublin Castle to hear the final official result, which is expected about 6pm.

A number of campaigners against the marriage referendum congratulated the Yes side on its campaign early today.

The first official constituency result was declared in Sligo-North Leitrim with 53.57% there voting Yes and 46.43% voting No.

The highest Yes vote so far, at almost 75%, has been declared in Dublin South East.

One constituency has voted No; the result in Roscommon-South Leitrim saw over 51% of voters there reject the marriage referendum proposal. …

Former Labour party leader Eamon Gilmore stood over his comments made in mid-2012, that gay marriage was “the civil rights issue of a generation”.

He said this referendum “was a moment where Irish people expressed their decency and their generosity”. …

Director of the National Youth Council of Ireland Mary Cunningham praised a new generation of voters for making a difference.

“It represents a victory not only for the Yes side, but also for Irish society, Irish democracy and the young people of Ireland,” she said.

“This result sends a strong message to young people across Ireland that they are valued equally; and that we want to promote respect and eliminate homophobia.”

Yes Equality spokesperson Grainne Healy said: “It’s an extraordinary day.

“We were going out not telling people to vote Yes, we were going out saying I am voting yes and I’d like to tell you why. That’s how the campaign started and that’s how it has worked.”…

Church needs a reality check – Archbishop

Speaking to RTÉ News, the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, said that the Catholic Church [which had campaigned for a No vote] needs “to have a reality check across the board”.

He said that he appreciates how gay and lesbian people feel.

“This is a social revolution that did not begin today”, he said, adding that it had been going for quite a while.

Archbishop Martin said that the church has a huge task in getting its message out to young people.

“The church needs to ask itself if it has completely drifted away from young people,” he said.

He added that most people who voted Yes went to Catholic schools for 12 years, so “there is a big challenge for us to get the message of the Catholic church across”.

Also from RTÉ News in Ireland today:

18:30

Anti Austerity Alliance TDs Joe Higgins, Ruth Coppinger and Paul Murphy have welcomed the result of the same-sex marriage referendum.

Mr Higgins said: “Today is a historic day for [the] LGBTQ community in Ireland and internationally. Today’s victory is the culmination of decades of struggle which has forced this government and conservative elements in the establishment to hold this referendum.”

Ruth Coppinger said “We must now fight as a society for the full separation of church and state. Today’s result shows that the church’s massive control of health and education is out of kilter with the consciousness of the majority in society.”

Paul Murphy said “One of the key characteristics from this referendum has been the massive votes delivered by working class communities, and young people. Many people in working class areas who have never voted have become politicised over the last few years of austerity and turned out in massive numbers to vote for equality.”

Translated from NOS TV in the Netherlands, which interviwed a mother of a gay son in Dublin, Ireland:

“My son is 38 years old. Only five years he dared to come out as gay. In that atmosphere he had grown up, thanks to the church,” said a female voter.

The church has lost a lot of credit because of the abuse scandals in recent years. “I want my son to be happy,” said the woman. “He does not harm anyone and he is not a pedophile. Not everyone in the church can say that.”

Don’t be blinded by the Yes vote: Ireland is still oppressing its LGBT population. Equal marriage is too often conflated with absolute LGBT equality but the reality continues to be alarming: here.

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.

Danish school to pay moral damages to Muslim girl who was made to eat pork: here.

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