Archive for May, 2011

The SNAP National Conference (July 8-10, in Washington, DC) is getting closer

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Received by email from SNAP outreach director Barb Dorris.

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The SNAP National Conference is getting closer!



Here’s a quick look at a few of our exceptional speakers…


JASON BERRY – Jason is one of the pioneers of investigative reporting into the clergy sexual abuse crisis, and has won two Catholic Press Association awards for his coverage of the crisis. Jason has written two books on the subject, “Lead Us Not Into Temptation” and “Vows of Silence.” Jason will be speaking about his newest book,”Render Unto Rome,” and he will discuss his extensive journey into uncovering more truth – this time focusing on money.




CHRISTIANE SANDERSON – Hailing from the UK, Christiane is a counseling psychologist and consultant for victims of childhood sexual abuse, and is the author of several books, including “The Warrior Within: A One in Four Handbook to Aid Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse and Violence.” Christiane will be discussing how brave survivors in Ireland are making a difference, as well as sharing tips on healing and recovery.


JENNIFER BALBONI – Jennifer is a professor in the Criminal Justice department of Curry College, located in Wilton, MA. Jennifer will be speaking about her recently authored work on the abuse crisis entitled”Clergy Sexual Abuse Litigation: Survivors Seeking Justice.” Her book deals with the experiences of survivors who have sought justice using the criminal justice system, and highlights the differences observed between civil and criminal litigation.





Christine is the author of Healing the Incest Wound which has been lauded as an authoritative work on the subject of childhood sexual abuse. Christine is also one of the earliest clinicians to discover effective treatment for victims of child sexual abuse. Christine will share her expertise on recovery and the healing process.





What should you do? Register now to attend the SNAP conference! You can use the quick links section located at the top of this e-mail, or just follow these simple steps.


Go to our website: SNAPnetwork.org  (left hand side at the top) It is just $115 for the entire weekend and $90 for a one day pass. Or mail your registration to SNAP, P O Box 6416, Chicago IL 60680.


Reserve a room at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Hotel in Crystal City. SNAP has secured a rate of just $99 per night for double occupancy. There is a shuttle service from Washington National Airport (Reagan National Airport) to the hotel and the hotel is near a stop on the Metro system.


Reserve online here or by phone at 888-421-1442.


Have any questions? Let me know and I’ll get right back to you!


All the best,

Barbara Dorris


Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests | PO Box 6416 | Chicago | IL | 60680




Liberal Catholic Church, Diocese of Arizona

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


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I ran across this website while surfing the ‘Net.

I hope you find it interesting.

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Liberal Catholic Church

Diocese of Arizona

Welcome to All

“Who needs the Liberal Catholic Church?”


Welcome!  I’m The Most Reverend Bennett D. D. Burke, bishop of the Liberal Catholic Diocese of Arizona.  In December 1996, we celebrated our first Holy Eucharist at St. Michael and All Angels in Casa Grande, Arizona, a town of about 25,000 people.

Since then, St. Michael’s has grown to a parish of nearly two hundred souls.  Now, we’ve founded our second mission in the state – Our Lady of Peace and Hope in Tucson.

Thanks for your interest in progressive Christianity and the independent Catholic movement. Let me tell you a little about who we are, what we do, and how you can participate.

The Liberal Catholic Church International exists to forward the work of her Master, Jesus Christ, and to feed his flock.  We draw our central inspiration from faith in an eternal Christ, who lives now and forever as a mighty spiritual Presence in the world, guiding and sustaining all His children, without barriers based on race, color, national origin, ancestry, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, economic status, age, disability, theological viewpoint, familial status, or issues of individual conscience.

We’re an independent and self-governing body – neither Roman Catholic nor Protestant – but Catholic. We trace our apostolic succession to the Old Catholic Church of Holland, through a complete reorganization in 1916 of the Old Catholic movement in Great Britain.

Today, the Liberal Catholic Church combines the traditional sacramental form of worship – stately ritual, deep mysticism, an abiding witness to the reality of sacramental grace – with the widest measure of intellectual liberty and respect for the individual conscience.  The Liberal Catholic Church is a modern Christian denomination; we believe that religion should keep pace with the best in human growth and enlightenment.  The Liberal Catholic Church is also traditional; we believe that, through administering
Catholic sacraments to all, we continue to be stewards of a precious heritage handed down from Christ Himself.

For more than a decade, we’ve welcomed people from all walks of life, in all conditions and situations, to our altars.  Throughout that time, we’ve asked ourselves this question – “Who needs the Liberal Catholic Church?”  Here are some of the answers we’ve heard from our members:

People seeking traditional Catholic worship and sacraments.

The Liberal Catholic Church is theologically progressive, but traditional in worship.  The Liberal Catholic Mass preserves an ancient and stately ritual, which includes the trappings of pre-Vatican II liturgy, but in English, not Latin.  The Liberal Catholic Church offers the seven Catholic sacraments – Baptism, Confession and Absolution, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and Holy Unction (healing) – to everyone.

Babies, children, teens and adults who have been denied baptism in other churches.

Soon after we made our presence known in Arizona, we got calls from people asking if we’d baptize their children.  Here are some of the reasons I’ve been told, personally, that other churches have refused to baptize them: the parents of the child are not married, or married only in a civil ceremony; the parents have not received all of their sacraments; the godparents are not married, are not married to each other, were not married in a church ceremony; the godparents are too young to offer good religious education; the godparents are too old; the parents are too new to the parish; the parents have not donated enough money to the church [This last one is really hard to believe. FJD].

When families ask about our requirements for baptism, here’s our answer – if you have a child who hasn’t been baptized, you’ve met our requirements.  These families need the Liberal Catholic Church.

Those for whom weekly aural Confession doesn’t make sense.

Our parishioners appreciate having the Confiteor included in the Mass, not as a separate event.  We remind visitors to Mass that they need not feel they can’t take Communion if they haven’t been to Confession lately – they just went to Confession at the beginning of Mass!  We also suggest they save private, aural confession for the “big-ticket” items, not the everyday run-of-the-mill “I said a bad word in traffic the other day” kind of sins.  Modern Americans, familiar with the need for appropriate
reflection and correction, but also aware of the value of high self-esteem, need the Liberal Catholic Church.

Children and others who have never received their First Holy Communion, or those who can’t “qualify” for First Holy Communion in another church.

We’ve prepared children for this sacrament whose families can’t afford First Holy Communion class fees in other churches. We’ve prepared children with learning disabilities, who have been denied First Holy Communion in other churches because they weren’t capable of memorizing their prayers.  Children who haven’t yet experienced the mystery of faith contained in the Body and Blood of Christ need the Liberal Catholic Church.

Divorced and remarried adults.

Staying in an irreconcilably bad marriage isn’t good for anyone.  But divorced Catholics often don’t understand having to make a choice between marrying again, and being welcome to receive Holy Communion on Sunday.  In the Liberal Catholic Church, there’s no need to make such a choice.  I think every one of our members who have been divorced and remarried would have a
quick and happy answer to “who needs the Liberal Catholic Church.”

Those denied marriage in another church.

Those contemplating “mixed marriages,” those who have not received all their sacraments prior to marriage, those turned off by written promises to raise their children in a particular faith – these couples need the Liberal Catholic Church.

Those who seek God’s blessing for same-sex unions.

Liberal Catholic Clergy can’t “marry” same-sex couples, unless that marriage would be legal in their jurisdiction (it wouldn’t be legal in Arizona).  But the Liberal Catholic Diocese of Arizona offers a same-sex blessing ceremony, patterned after the Liberal Catholic wedding ceremony.  People who want God’s blessing for a same-sex union, offered in a spiritual and religious ceremony, need the Liberal Catholic Church.

Men – and women – who seek Holy Orders.

Priests in the Liberal Catholic Church are male and female, gay and straight, married and celibate, and all are self-supporting.  No member of clergy in the Diocese of Arizona gets paid by the church, but instead support themselves and their families through secular employment.  People with families (families of many kinds), and a call to serve God in this special way, need the Liberal Catholic Church.

Those in need of healing grace.

People need the Liberal Catholic Church coming into this world, when they’re sick in body and soul, and at the end of life.  Anyone looking for healing grace needs the Liberal Catholic Church.

Those who struggle with “end of life” issues.

More and more people are becoming concerned about control over their own bodies – especially the control of pain and suffering associated with end of life.  Many people have become increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of burial, and the more earth-friendly technique of cremation. These people need counsel and support, not condemnation.  These people need the Liberal Catholic Church.

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals, the trans-gendered.

Here’s what Christ had to say about homosexuality or alternate gender-identities . . .
. . .
. . . that’s right – nothing.  Here’s what he said a lot about – love, acceptance, reaching out to those pushed to the margins of society due to fear, prejudice and bigotry.  Anyone identifying as LGBT, who wants to remain or become Catholic, needs the Liberal Catholic Church.

Young women interested in celebrating a “Quinceanera.”

At the age of fifteen, Latinas and their families often desire to recognize this passage from childhood to adulthood in a spiritual way.  A “Quinceanera,” or fifteenth-birthday celebration, celebrates this transition in a ceremony that actually goes back to the Aztecs.  In the Liberal Catholic Church, we put our young women through an intense period of personal preparation, designed to expand their awareness of adult roles and responsibilities, before agreeing to celebrate this passage. But many other churches, which had long participated in this cultural tradition, have stopped offering them. Young women and their families who can’t find another church to celebrate this ancient tradition need the Liberal Catholic Church.

Those who believe in modern medical care, particularly for family planning.

Q: What do you call people who use the “rhythm” method of birth control?  A: Parents!  In today’s America, and increasingly around the world, women and their partners, from all religions and walks of life, are demanding control of their reproductive cycles and organs.  They’re also demanding the best that modern medicine has to offer to help them with this control.  Families struggling with family-planning issues – particularly those who have been taught that their safe and medically-sound choices are
sinful – need the Liberal Catholic Church.

Everyone who seeks an honest and open faith.

You’ll never find a church where all of her members agree with their pastor or church leaders all of the time.  You’ll never find a church where all of her members agree with all of the principles and practices upon which that church is founded.  You’ll never find a church where all of her members interpret the Bible exactly the same way, or hold the same political views, or all vote for the same candidates or issues. You will find many, many churches that expect those with different or minority opinions to change them, or at least to keep silent about them.  Some people even go as far as hiding their marital status, sexual orientation, past history, or current values from their priests or ministers, in order to be welcomed at the altar for Holy Communion.  In the Liberal Catholic Church, we focus on common worship, not common belief.  People who want to be welcome to receive the Body and Blood of Christ – and be welcome just as they are – these people need the Liberal Catholic Church.

People with families and friends of other faiths.

My own family and circle of friends include atheists, agnostics, pagans, Sufis, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and yes, Catholics, Presbyterians, Mennonites, and almost every other faith you can name.  So you’re probably thinking we must spend a lot of time arguing about whose faith is “right” or “wrong.”  Sorry to disappoint you.  The Liberal Catholic Church looks at faith something like this: “Truth is One – the sages call it by many names.”  If you’re happy with your faith (or lack of faith), I’m happy for you.
And if you or your church like to help others, ease their pain, feed the hungry, heal the sick, or clothe the naked, the only other thing I want to know is “How can we help?”  People who want to be Catholic, but love ecumenism and interfaith efforts, need the Liberal Catholic Church.

People who understand that religion isn’t a spectator sport.

If you’re looking for a church with dazzling multi-media presentations, with elaborate and expensive sound systems, with hundred-member choirs, with television ministries and radio stations, where you can show up, be entertained, and go home…well, you probably won’t like the Liberal Catholic approach to faith.  But if you’re looking for a faith community, a place to belong, a place where everybody knows your name, a place to participate and get involved, a place where our members are family, in good times and bad; if you’re interested not just in attending a church but in helping to build a faith community, I think you need the Liberal Catholic Church.

Is that everyone?  Did I miss an issue or barrier that’s important to you?  How about this one:  People who have been denied the sacraments for any reason, people who have felt like second-class citizens in other churches, people looking for a relationship with our Lord Christ which comes with more love than rules – yes, they need the Liberal Catholic Church, too.

If you’re still reading, come with me on a tour of some of the links on our site.  I’d also be happy to answer your e-mails BpBennettBurke@yahoo.com or see you in person at one of our services, meetings or events.  Or, you’d like to learn more, please go to our denominational site at:

Liberal Catholic Church International

Are you already a happy and active member of another faith community?  God bless you, and congratulations on having found your path.  I recognize the truth and importance of your path for you, as I hope you’ll respect ours, too.  We celebrate the blessed company of all faithful people, and hope we can all work together to reach out to the “least” of His children.  With an ecumenical spirit, we welcome you to our churches, and hope we’ll be welcome in yours.

Are you not a member of a faith community?  Are you looking for a new one, one more progressive and inclusive?  Do you want to combine the best of Catholic worship, with intellectual freedom, spiritual liberty, and an unflinching search for growth and truth?    Do you believe that Christ came to take away our sins, not our minds?

If so, welcome – and welcome home.

In His Holy Name,

The Most Reverend Bennett D. D. Burke
Bishop, Liberal Catholic Diocese of Arizona
Pastor, Our Lady of Peace and Hope Liberal Catholic Mission, Tucson



DO NOT, REPEAT, DO NOT MISS THIS: John Jay Study Equates Hierarchy’s Mentality to that of Abusing Priests, by Vinnie Nauheimer

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our good friend Vinnie Nauheimer hits another grand slam.

Please consider forwarding Vinnie’s analysis to a friend.

Thank you, Vinnie, for your sharp intellect, unwavering dedication to the truth, hard work, and tireless support of abuse victims and survivors.

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John Jay Study Equates Hierarchy’s Mentality to that of Abusing Priests

By Vinnie Nauheimer


Did the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops unwittingly expose a direct link between their actions and those of sexually abusing priests with the John Jay Study? The recently released John Jay report The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010 indicates that they have. The study has received a lot of press over what wasn’t said; however, we may need to pay more attention to what was said. The study, which the USCCB commissioned, clearly demonstrates the behavior of the hierarchy when dealing with abusive priests is as fundamentally flawed as that of abusive priests!


In an effort to explain how abusers can continue to abuse, the researchers delve into the techniques employed by an abuser to rationalize his heinous crime thereby allowing him to continue abusing. When reading these techniques, one fact jumps out at the reader: “These are the same tactics the hierarchy has used.” If the reader happens to be a survivor, he or she says, “They did these things to me and in doing so re-victimized me!” It is astonishing that none of the researchers either recognized or pointed out how the behaviors of bishops and abusers mirror each other.  This information is critical to understanding just how sick the mentality of the hierarchy was when dealing with victims. Neutralization techniques also explains how and why bishops could live with their actions after permitting the rape, sodomization, and molestation of children by putting abusing priests back on the street and how they could re-victimize those survivors who summoned the strength to complain.


The techniques of neutralization are not something made up by the researchers at John Jay. They are accepted ideas upon which many books have been written and studies done. According to Wikipedia: “Techniques of neutralization are a theoretical series of methods by which those who commit illegitimate acts temporarily neutralize certain values within themselves which would normally prohibit them from carrying out such acts, such as morality, obligation to abide by the law, and so on. In simpler terms, it is a psychological method for people to turn off ‘inner protests’ when they do, or are about to do, something wrong.” As applied here, it allowed the bishops to cast off the mantles of both humanity and Christianity.


This is the relevant passage from the John Jay Study quoting Sykes and Matza, two well known researchers in this field:


One factor that is consistent with nearly all sexual abusers is the adoption of techniques of neutralization,” which alleviate feelings of guilt and shame, thus enabling offenders to commit the acts of abuse. Sykes and Matza list five primary neutralization techniques: the denial of responsibility, denial of injury, denial of the victim, condemnation of the condemners, and appeal to higher loyalties.1


For ease of understanding, the five techniques of neutralization will be listed as they appear above. Below each technique are annotated clear-cut examples citing how each technique was used by the bishops of the Roman Catholic Church against survivors of clerical abuse who had the audacity to speak out. Several of these techniques are addressed within the pages of the John Jay Study have been attributed to the hierarchy. However, they were identified as errors in judgment made by the hierarchy and not their true name, Neutralization Techniques.


Any neutralization technique admitted to in the John Jay Study is in bold and italicized. Underneath these examples may appear clarifications of just how harshly the example was used in real life. This list could go on ad nauseum, but for brevity’s sake, only a few examples are used under each technique to prove the point.


Denial of Responsibility

Diocesan leaders attempted to deflect personal liability for retaining abusers by relying on therapists’ recommendations or by employing legalistic arguments about the status of priests.2


Nothing is more obscene than the repeated legal machinations used by bishops in their denial of their responsibility for the criminal actions of the priests under their jurisdiction.


Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, while bishop of the archdiocese of Bridgeport, CT, presented this argument to the courts: The archdiocese was not responsible because priests were independent contractors and not employees of the diocese.3


A similar argument was put forth that stated the sexual abuse of minors was not part of the priest’s job description and therefore the diocese was not responsible for his actions. This same argument was later used by the Vatican to defend itself.4


• The response of diocesan officials to civil litigation by victims was often vigorous and perceived as aggressive and intimidating.5

The following is a list of the vigorous, aggressive, and intimidating devices used against victims and their families who spoke out: Blaming rape victims for their own recklessness, Hiring private investigators to track down incriminating evidence, Suing victims for slander, Suing minor victims’ parents for failing to watch over them, Intimidating witnesses, Concealing evidence, Stonewalling court proceedings, and Denying knowledge of abuse — unless the victims can prove otherwise.6

Persisting in his efforts to make the complaint, he faced a series of responses from diocesan officials: “You must be mistaken; you’re the only one; you’re going to ruin this priest’s life; you’re lying; why now after all these years? Their first response was denial; the second, you’re the only one; if they didn’t work, then obfuscation. Last was the appeal to guilt: It’s your fault; you seduced Father. You’ll ruin his life.”7


Denying the Victim


The hierarchy became incredibly astute at denying the victim with a plethora of well thought out strategies. As the abuse scandal grew, they honed these skills until a victim of clergy abuse who complained had about as much of a chance of being heard as a sparrow in the midst of a tornado.

Tactics were employed that insured victims and their families were run around in circles, sometimes for months or years.


• Diocesan leaders rarely provided information to local civil authorities and sometimes made concerted efforts to prevent reports of sexual abuse by priests from reaching law enforcement, even before the statute of limitation expired.8

• Diocesan officials tried to keep their files devoid of incriminating evidence. The exercise of the episcopal prerogative to maintain “secret archives” was at odds with the advice of counsel and the guidelines of the Five Principles.9


With Cardinal Mahony getting ready to retire from the Roman Catholic Los Angeles Archdiocese, his eminence is pulling some strange, ill-conceived moves again, now refusing to maintain an updated list of sexually abusive priests on the archdiocese’s web site.10


In California, a bishop reprimanded a priest for writing a letter of apology to an 11-year-old girl he had molested. After a transfer to a rural parish and a promotion to pastor, the priest was accused of abusing three victims at his new assignment, including a 3-year-old girl. The diocese’s lawyer sought to deflect responsibility from Church leaders, stating that a psychiatric evaluation of the priest, who admitted abusing 25 children, did not “render any diagnosis of pedophilia.”11


B. Archdiocese leaders employed deliberate strategies to conceal known abuse.
In the face of crimes they knew were being committed by their priests, Church leaders could have reported them to police. They could have removed the child molesters from ministry, and stopped the sexual abuse of minors by Archdiocesan clerics. Instead, they consistently chose to conceal the abuse rather than to end it. They chose to protect themselves from scandal and liability rather than protect children from the priests’ crimes.12


Roughly two-thirds of the top U.S. Catholic leaders have allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to keep working, a practice that spans decades and continues today, a three-month Dallas Morning News review shows.13


Appealing to a Higher Authority


The case files are filled with victims who were told that by going public they would hurt the church; to belabor the point is a waste of time.


Who better to use as an example appealing to a higher authority than that of Pope John Paul II? In 2002 he called the American bishops to Rome and made this proclamation about Clergy Abuse. He called it “Mysterium Iniquitatis” or in laymen’s terms, “the mystery of evil” thereby shifting the blame from priests to the second most powerful entity in the world, Satan. Not only did he appeal to a higher authority, but he denied any fault of their own.


In the world according to Father Benedict Groeschel, the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal is largely the stuff of fiction. Reporters “doing the work of Satan” are driven to lie, the New York priest says, because they hate the church’s moral teachings.14



“I told my mom that he had hugged me in a very uncomfortable way and that he had kissed me in his bedroom on his bed and that I was lying down.” She said her stepfather contacted another priest, who reported the matter to Monsignor Dennis Dorney, vicar general of the Tulsa Diocese.
“They advised us so many times over and over again, ‘Don’t say anything until he is gone, because it would hurt the church.’ “15


The case files are filled with victims who were told that by going public they would hurt the church; to belabor the point is a waste of time.


Minimization of Harm

• Diocesan leaders failed to understand the importance of direct contact with victims, thereby giving the impression that they felt no personal responsibility for the harm sustained by victims.16

The bishops did whatever they felt like doing and whatever they could to avoid tarnishing their image.17

Father Rogers was never punished or held to account for his unchecked sexual predations or the devastation they caused. He was permitted to retire in 1995, his “good name” intact. The message clearly communicated by the Archdiocese’s actions — to victims and abusers alike — was that it would protect the reputation of its priests at all costs. This twisted sense of priorities was not lost on Fr. Rogers. In 2002, according to a Philadelphia Inquirer article, Fr. Rogers admitted to having sexual relations with Russell but minimized its significance and questioned the importance of the disclosure. Father Rogers said that the abuse “may have happened but it was not as prolonged as he says it was … Naturally, he was young and I was older, so I should have known better. I don’t know why it has to come out now … It will just ruin my reputation.”18


To this day, bishops are still doing this. No greater example can be given then the John Jay Study itself; paid for by the bishops to exonerate the bishops. As noted in the first paragraph in this section, they paint a nice picture that says, “Bishops gave the impression” when in fact, they never gave a damn about the victims. Of the 300 bishops in the United States there has only been one advocate of survivors, Bishop Gumbleton, and he only became an advocate after he retired.


Of the 300 plus cardinals around the world, there is not one who can be called an advocate for victims.


Perhaps the most notable minimization of victims is the lack of the use of the word crime. Crime is omitted from the Title. Sexual abuse of minors is a crime and it was a crime prior to the Sexual Revolution. A far more accurate title would have been The Causes and Context of the Crime of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010. Yet even this minimizes the harm done. The words “sexual abuse” are a very soft term that makes the rape, sodomization, and molestation of children more palatable because sexual abuse is a catchall. It keeps the readers guessing. Which sounds better, 1,000 children were raped by priests or 1,000 children were sexually abused by priests?


The second play on words was to reduce the impact of the word pedophile. To this extent, the ephebophile word was created. A word, that the studies authors are quick to point out, is not in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). So why use it? The ephebophile is someone who has rapes, sodomizes, or molests post pubescent children over thirteen, but under eighteen. The church wanted to create confusion, doubt and minimize the harm. By their standards, a priest sodomizing a fifteen year old is not as shocking as a priest sodomizing a ten-year-old. If a priest has anal sex with a fifteen-year-old, according to the church, that is a homosexual relationship and not “statutory rape” as it should be called. The hierarchy and their minions are adept linguists who are well practiced in the art of neutralization techniques and verbiage.


Condemning the Condemners

• The response of diocesan officials to civil litigation by victims was often vigorous and perceived as aggressive and intimidating18.

Persisting in his efforts to make the complaint, he faced a series of responses from diocesan officials: “You must be mistaken; you’re the only one; you’re going to ruin this priest’s life; you’re lying; why now after all these years? Their first response was denial; the second, you’re the only one; if they didn’t work, then obfuscation. Last was the appeal to guilt: It’s your fault; you seduced Father. You’ll ruin his life.”19

Roman Catholic Bishop Bernando Álvarez said “There are 13-year-old adolescents who are under age and who are perfectly in agreement with, and what’s more wanting it, and if you are careless they will even provoke you,” he said.20


A Roman Catholic bishop in Mexico has sparked outrage by suggesting eroticism on television and internet pornography were to blame for child sex abuse by priests. He also claimed sex education in schools was making it more difficult for priests to remain celibate. Bishop Felipe Arizmendi was speaking before the Pope arrived in Malta where he is meeting victims of abuse by Catholic priests.21


Boston’s beleaguered Cardinal Bernard Law is now making his yearly fund-raising appeal to the city’s 2 million Catholics. He needs $16 million for the chancery’s overhead–and won’t get it. His approval rating sank to a new low last week when he asserted in court papers that Gregory Ford was responsible for his own alleged abuse, through “negligence,” despite being 6 when it began.22


Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga, in a May interview with the Italian-Catholic publication 30 Giorni, claimed Jews influenced the media to exploit the current controversy regarding sexual abuse by Catholic priests in order to divert attention from the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.23


The Holy See press office director under John Paul II, Dr. Joaquin Navarro-Valls, has today criticized the media for “a raging phobia” against the Church over pedophilia while ignoring the problem in the rest of society which he says is widespread.24

Fr Anthony Charanghat, director, Catholic Communication Centre. “You must also understand that the global porn industry is responsible for blowing these reports out of proportion. They have been trying to demonise the Catholic clergy, since the Church has been fighting them,” he added.25


Some still complain, although privately, that the entire crisis, the Long Lent of 2002, was manufactured by the media and motivated by anti-Catholicism. There is only some truth in that. Without the media there would have been no felt crisis. There is a generous measure of anti-Catholicism in the media, as elsewhere, but without the deeper crisis of the infidelity and negligence of bishops, the media could not have produced the public and, consequently, episcopal sense of crisis. The scandal was in the chanceries, parishes, and seminaries before it was on the front page or television news.26


The Superiority Complex

Although it is alluded to in a paragraph the John Jay Study it bears mention because it adds another dimension to understanding the deplorable behavior of the bishops.


• Relative advantage—the perceived degree of relative advantage over the status quo. Rogers notes the significance of “social prestige factors” concerning this attribute. As it pertains to the sexual abuse crisis, this factor may have affected the way bishops weighed concern for victims against their expectation of institutionally damaging publicity.27


If one considers their victim less than, it is easier to justify inhumane treatment of them. Slave owners consider slaves their property. It took an 16th century edict from the Vatican to declare that Native Americans had souls. Hitler considered Jew and others “Mud People” so as to justify their destruction. The superiority complex of the hierarchy is legendary and because of it, it that much easier for them ignore the crimes of their priests, deny the claims of victims and allow priests to rape, sodomize and molest at will. Nowhere is this false ideology of Divine Right more clearly stated than in Vehementer Nos an encyclical promulgated by Pius X in 1906.28

Consider here what a pope had to say about the superiority of the clergy.

“It follows that the Church is essentially an unequal society, that is, a society comprising two categories of persons, the Pastors and the flock, those who occupy a rank in the different degrees of the hierarchy and the multitude of the faithful. So distinct are these categories that with the pastoral body only rests the necessary right and authority for promoting the end of the society and directing all its members towards that end; the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors.”28

This passage written about the sexual abuse scandal several years ago by then-director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men (Notice the word Superiors), Fr. Ted Keating picks up on the point.

“The days of the pass or station house adjustment for Father or Brother by the Irish cop or prosecutor are over. Either we will learn to become more comfortable in the gaze of the rude and scoffing multitude (depending on our attitude) or we will be dragged kicking and screaming into a new future for religion and religious life”

There are two things to note in this statement. The first is the unequivocal admission by Fr. Keating that priests, who committed crimes, were not arrested by police. The second is Keating’s use of the term the rude and scoffing multitudewhen referring to the laity. It smacks of arrogance and superiority while mimicking Pious X’s statement on superiority of the clergy.


1. The above examples provide a concrete link between the mentality of the abusing priests and the bishops who protected them. The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church has an abusive mentality when it comes to the victims of clergy abuse. To say otherwise is to spit in the face of reason.

2. The bishop’s abusive mentality is well documented and follows the same line of warped reasoning that allows all perpetrators of despicable acts against children to live with themselves their actions and their crimes.

3. The twisted mentality of the hierarchy is not limited to bishops and cardinals in the United States. The tactics employed by the US bishops are the same ones used by the worldwide hierarchy. It is indicative of mentality deeply ingrained in the culture of the Catholic Hierarchy.

4. John Jay tries to create the appearance of a them (abusing priests) versus us (bishops) situation where the offending priests are the bad guys and the bishops are the good guys. This is not the case at all. The number of credibly accused bishops is on par with the percentage of abusing priests as evidenced by the list of abusers on bishopaccountability.org. The only difference is that not one bishop has ever been defrocked. Let us not forget that most of the bishops currently in power were in the seminary during time period measured by John Jay.

5. The sexuality of bishops was never called into question. Bishops are human beings and therefore have a sexuality be it hetero, homo or bi sexuality. The study treats them as asexual only looking at the sexual norms of seminarians and priests. John Jay is not the only one to avoid mentioning bishops. In his twenty-four page response to the John Jay Study, John Jay 2011 Study on Sexual Abuse: a Critical Analysis, William Donohue, an ardent Catholic conservative and lays the blame for the sexual abuse scandal clearly at the feet of homosexual priests. He never mentions the word bishop and homosexual in the same sentence. He too holds that the bishops are above it all in his dissertation.


Donohue ends his dissertation on homosexuality as the root cause of the clergy abuse scandal with the following: “There is no way that priests who are faithful to the precepts of the Church’s teachings on sexual ethics could possibly live a life of sexual recklessness. Only by jettisoning the teachings—casting celibacy and chastity as anachronistic—could they do so.”29


This will end by saying: There is no way that a pope, cardinals or bishops who are faithful to the precepts of the Church’s teachings on sexual ethics could possibly have allowed criminal sexual abuse by priests to flourish. Only by jettisoning their faith, the teachings of Jesus, Holy Scripture, Canon Law and the Catechism could the bishops have done it. In other words, they had to adopt the mentality of an abuser and whole-heartedly endorse the techniques of neutralization while becoming heretics in the process to deal with victims seeking justice.

For further discussion see: According to Aquinas, There Are Heretics in the Vatican.30




1. John Jay College Research Team The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010 Retrieved May 23, 2011 from http://www.usccb.org/mr/causes-and-context-of-sexual-abuse-of-minors-by-catholic-priests-in-the-united-states-1950-2010.pdf

2. Ibid pg. 89

3. http://www.nytimes.com/2000/06/16/nyregion/egan-is-leaving-unfinished-work-on-abuse-victims-say.html?pagewanted=4 May 30, 2011

4. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2010/0628/Supreme-Court-allows-sex-abuse-case-to-proceed-against-the-Vatican May 30, 2011

5. John Jay College Research Team The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010 Retrieved May 23, 2011 from http://www.usccb.org/mr/causes-and-context-of-sexual-abuse-of-minors-by-catholic-priests-in-the-united-states-1950-2010.pdf

6. http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/top/features/documents/01780639.htm May 30, 2011

7. John Jay College Research Team The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010 Retrieved May 23, 2011 from http://www.usccb.org/mr/causes-and-context-of-sexual-abuse-of-minors-by-catholic-priests-in-the-united-states-1950-2010.pdf

8. Ibid pg. 89

9. Ibid pg. 89

10. http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2010/09/cardinal_roger_mahohy_predator.php May 30, 2011

11. http://www.catholicsexabuse.com/THE_PHILADELPHIA_GRAND_JURY_REPORT/Section_III__Overview_of_the_CoverUp_by_Archdiocese_Officials  May 30, 2011

12. http://www.catholicsexabuse.com/THE_PHILADELPHIA_GRAND_JURY_REPORT/Section_III__Overview_of_the_CoverUp_by_Archdiocese_Officials

13. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spe/2002/bishops/stories/041702dnrelbg.

852d3201.html May 30, 2011

14. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/spe/2002/bishops/stories/041702dnrelbg.

852d3201.html May 30, 2011

15.  http://www.bishopaccountability.org/news3/2002_07_31_Branstetter_Bishop

Admits_Kenneth_Lewis_4.htm  May 30, 2011

16. John Jay College Research Team The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in the United States, 1950-2010 Retrieved May 23, 2011 from http://www.usccb.org/mr/causes-and-context-of-sexual-abuse-of-minors-by-catholic-priests-in-the-united-states-1950-2010.pdf

17. Ibid pg. 90

18. Ibid pg. 89

19. Ibid pg 90

20. http://madmikesamerica.com/2010/04/tenerife-catholic-bishop-blames-child-abuse-on-the-children/ May 30, 2011

21. http://thecornfieldonline.com/index.php?topic=19504.0;wap2 May 30, 2011

22. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-85590510.html May 30, 2011

23. http://www.adl.org/PresRele/ASInt_13/4135_13.asp May 30, 2011

24. http://www.ncregister.com/blog/navarro-valls_on_the_abuse_crisis#ixzz1Nm08iQi4 May 30, 2011

25. http://www.mid-day.com/news/2010/mar/310310-mumbai-catholics-reaction-vatican-paedophilia-scandals.htm May 30, 2011

26. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/scandal-time-iii-43 May 30, 2011

27. JJS

28. http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_x/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-x_enc_11021906_vehementer-nos_en.html May 30, 2011

29. Donohue, W. John Jay 2011 Study on Sexual Abuse: a Critical Analysis, May 30, 2011

30. Nauheimer, V. According to Aquinas’ Definition, There are Heretics in the Vatican. http://reform-network.net/?p=6431



Belgian church to pay victims for abuse

Monday, May 30, 2011


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Belgian church to pay victims for abuse


By RAF CASERT and DON MELVIN Associated Press © 2011 The Associated Press

May 30, 2011, 9:52AM


BRUSSELS — The Belgian church says it is willing to pay compensation to victims of sexual abuse by clergy to help those abused restore their dignity.

Belgium’s bishops and religious leaders said in a statement Monday they are “deeply touched and distraught” by revelations over the past year, when over 500 witnesses have come forward with harrowing accounts of molestation in the country by Catholic clergy spanning decades.

But the leader of a group of survivors said she would put her faith only in actions, not in anything the bishops said

“Whatever the bishops are saying is blah, blah,” said Lieve Halsberghe, the leader in Belgium of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “We need to see action before we believe anything they say.” [Emphasis added by FJD]

The decision follows months of wavering and deliberations within the church on how to best deal with the crisis, which has shaken the institution to its core.

The religious leaders said in a statement that the abuse had “given the victims great suffering and left traumas, which often lasted for many years.”

They said they regretted the suffering and trauma “wholeheartedly” and “appreciated the courage of the victims to come forward with the painful facts.”

For years, victims organizations had complained that the religious leadership totally ignored their pleas and protected abusing priests by simply moving them from parish to parish instead of punishing them.

A parliamentary inquiry committee set up in the wake of the scandal heard church officials acknowledge that they often were aloof to abuse problems and the needs of the victims.

The church officials said that in the wake of the inquiry they had agreed to enter arbitrage to consider compensation in cases where the legal time limit for filing suit has expired. Compensation would be agreed on a case-by-case basis.

They also vowed it would never happen again.

“The bishops and religious leaders are unanimous and steadfast to do all possible to make sure such serious facts, which society rightly deplores, never happen again,” the statement said.

Halsberghe greeted that statement with derision, saying the abuse may be continuing today. She said her group is working on the cases of priests who have been abusing for four or five decades, yet continue to be allowed by the church to take care of “minors in precarious situations — poor, with no power.”

“The bishops know that the justice system in Belgium is weak, the judiciary is very weak, and they are trying to hide behind it,” she said.

The statement by the religious leaders said they want to “help victims restore their dignity and, according to their needs, provide financial help.”

A former Belgian bishop at the center of one of the Roman Catholic church’s biggest pedophile scandals said last month that he had abused two nephews and insisted he had no plans to abandon the priesthood.

Former bishop Roger Vangheluwe called 13 years of sexual abuse of one nephew which started at age 5 as no more than “a little piece of intimacy.” He said the abuse of a second nephew was very short.

Vangheluwe said last month he fully realized what he did was wrong, and often went to confession about it. The 74-year-old Vangheluwe resigned a year ago, just as the sex abuse scandal was spreading across Europe.

The church long pleaded for time to set up a system to punish all abusers and provide some measure of relief for victims.

But Halsberghe said she feared any compensation might come only in exchange for an agreement to keep quiet, saying past payoffs had carried confidentiality agreements.

“I think this is a cruel thing, and absolutely against human rights,” she said. “Survivors need to talk to heal. You cannot heal without talking.”

Read more: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/top/all/7587343.html#ixzz1NqieNlsK



A reader quotes Martin Luther on church reform

Monday, May 30, 2011

I have said more than once that the best stuff on this blog are the comments of our readers.

The following comment provides more evidence to prove my assertion.

* * *

Those who naively seek to reform the Roman Catholic church from within would do well to consider the words of one who thought to do so in his day.

Martin Luther witnessed firsthand the gross immorality, the unchecked vice, the corrupt practices, most notably, the “selling of indulgences”, and the unbridled abuse of power amongst the clergy, and like some today who remain in the RCC, had noble thoughts of reforming it from within.  He soon discovered however that Rome was irreformable and broke his ties with them.  The rest is history.  Martin Luther  is widely known as “Father of the Reformation” (1483-1546).

His timely words:

“The Roman Catholics have, with great adroitness, drawn three walls round themselves, with which they have hitherto protected themselves, so that no one could reform them, whereby all Christendomhas fallen terribly.

Firstly, if pressed by the temporal power, they have affirmed and maintained that the temporal power has no jurisdiction over them, but, on the contrary, that the spiritual power is above the temporal.

Secondly, if it were proposed to admonish them with the Scriptures, they objected that none may interpret the Scriptures but the Pope.

Thirdly, if they are threatened with a council, they pretend that no one may call a council but the Pope.  Thus they have stolen our three rods and entrenched themselves behind these three walls, to act with all wickedness and malice, which we now witness.”

JuneAnnette, a former Roman Catholic and Witness for Christ



Memorial Day

Monday, May 30, 2011

Today we take time to remember the service men and women who gave their lives to make the freedom and security we enjoy possible.

We also remember the innocent victims of September 11, 2001.

It’s also fitting and proper to remember the victims of clergy sexual abuse who committed suicide because they could not handle the trauma their abuse left them. We also hold in our thoughts today those wounded by war and by priests who say they are men of God.


Ga. megachurch pastor looks ahead after settling lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct

Monday, May 30, 2011


* * *

Ga. megachurch pastor looks ahead after settling lawsuits accusing him of sexual misconduct


(AP) – 20 hours ago

LITHONIA, Ga. (AP) — The crowd still cheered for Bishop Eddie Long as he took the pulpit Sunday, but gone was the air of defiance that defined his appearance eight months ago when he rallied his congregation to battle amid lawsuits accusing the megachurch pastor of sexual misconduct.

Just days after settling the lawsuits filed by four young men who used to attend New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, the message was one of progress and prosperity to the several hundred gathered. The choir opened the two-hour 8 a.m. service with the gospel hymn “Moving Forward,” which began: “I’m not going back, I’m moving ahead. Here to declare to you my past is over.”

Long addressed a far smaller group than the one gathered back in September, when he compared himself to the Bible’s ultimate underdog and vowed to fight like David versus Goliath against accusations that he abused his spiritual authority and coerced four young men into sexual relationships with gifts including cars, cash and travel. Then, thousands of supporters and observers packed the 10,000-seat sanctuary, which took on the atmosphere of an arena.

After Sunday’s opening hymn, the service was decidedly focused on the church, not its controversial leader. For months, the scandal tainted Long’s reputation as an influential spiritual leader who transformed his suburban Atlanta congregation of 150 into a following of 25,000 members and an international televangelist empire that included athletes, entertainers and politicians.

Long did not address the allegations or the settlement from the pulpit. Details of the resolution have not been disclosed.

In a statement released last week, New Birth seemed eager to begin a new chapter.

“This decision was made to bring closure to this matter and to allow us to move forward with the plans God has for this ministry,” the statement read.

Goldie Taylor, a social commentator on African-American issues who lives near the church, said the subdued atmosphere came as no surprise to her.

“He has fractured a body of Christ,” she said. “He continues to lead what is a declining congregation. I think he owes it to them to participate, if he can, in their healing. Whether he can or not is really up to his congregation. Leading sometimes means walking away.”

Long, who has been a vocal opponent of gay marriage, built his empire with charisma and a prosperity Gospel message that told followers God would reward the faithful with wealth. It was an idea he embodied, sporting jewels on stage, living in a mansion and driving a luxury car.

The bishop was well-regarded in Lithonia, just outside Atlanta in DeKalb County, home to one of the most affluent African-American communities in the U.S. His presence at the church projected an image of strength and fatherhood.

Given that reputation, the out-of-court resolution comes as no surprise. Long likely wanted to avoid a trial that could have kept him in the spotlight, said Jessica Gabel, a Georgia State University law professor who specializes in trial strategy.

“Nobody wants their dirty laundry aired in court,” she said. “Every day there would be fanfare. This is not something you want in the media.”

Gabel said that attorneys try to keep the terms of any agreement confidential, but that it’s noteworthy that Long was not required to apologize or acknowledge any wrongdoing.

The case has not been investigated criminally because Georgia’s age of consent is 16. The young men were 17 and 18 when the alleged sexual contact occurred.

The agreement also holds advantages for the plaintiffs. J. Tom Morgan, a former DeKalb County district attorney, said men tend to be particularly reluctant to take the stand in such cases — which they would have likely been required to do if it had gone to court later this year.

“I’m sure they wanted to settle if the defense offered a reasonable sum of money,” he said.

Taylor said it is Long’s flock that is paying for whatever transgressions may have occurred.

“If it’s a dollar or $15 million, it is coming from the community that supports that institution,” said Taylor. “Those community stakeholders deserve to see you prove your innocence. By and large, people are interpreting this decision to settle as guilt.”

Follow Errin Haines on Twitter at twitter.com/emarvelous.

Associated Press writer Greg Bluestein contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.