Saturday, February 28, 2004

CRISIS MAGAZINE CAME TODAY My eyes nearly popped out at first glance! "WAS VATICAN II A MISTAKE?" in black and red letters marches across the aqua cover. I could hardly wait to open it. But alas, the articles are disappointing. I expected from the cover to discover a new perspective from a very politically correct outpost, but I was wrong. One article is titled "Open Windows: Why Vatican II was Necessary" by George Sim Johnston. It's very predictable. Another is titled "Victims Unseen". It talks about the price of the scandal being the inappropriateness, suddenly thrust upon men, of being a friend to a boy; and what is to be done about this since boys need male role models. There is an article on vocations, and one on Irish soldiers of Mexico. Another is titled "Mugged by a Muse: The Poet and the Con". One addresses evil. There are some commentaries on miscellaneous topics, and some book reviews. The editorial is about "The Passion of the Christ." So what about that cover question? Was it put there by mistake? Was it put there merely to get our attention? Was it only a tease? The question dangles unanswered. It dangles unaddressed. It really seems to have no relationship to the rest of the issue, but those five words were the most interesting words in the entire 64 pages. I should have known better, however, than to expect political incorrectness from Crisis. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE CULTURE OF THE "LUV" GENERATION has been getting a lot of Catholic press since Vatican II. "Love your neighbor" we are told. "Forgive" almost before you have had a chance to evaluate. The bishops have been using this strategy throughout the abuse scandal. If they could pull it off, it would quickly move us on to more pleasurable topics. It will no longer work, I think, because a lot of us are beginning to sense that a bit too much "Luv" lies behind our sexual abuse scandal. There is an essay on forgiveness at the firstthings.com website that has been linked at the Heart, Mind & Strength blog. The article looks at the necessary balance this way: If we forgive too easily or grow too lenient in our criminal justice system, we may ignore the genuine harm done. Psychotherapists frequently encourage victims of abuse to forgive their abusers rather than hate them, believing that hatred will only eat away at their fragile psyches. Murphy warns that this advice can be dangerous if it encourages such people to lower their guards and allow themselves to be victimized again. Hate and anger can also get out of hand, of course, but they can strengthen us and help us muster the emotional energy to resist evil, thereby recovering our sense of dignity when we are humiliated or treated without respect. And if the vindictive emotions help us to hold on to our innate dignity, then it makes a certain sense to think that the vengeful behavior following on those emotions would also be in the service of justice and human dignity.... The second part of the book is an examination of forgiveness in light of Murphy�s defense of hate. Murphy defines forgiveness as forgoing vengeance and overcoming the vindictive passions. If he�s right that these acts are good, Murphy thinks, it explains why true forgiveness is so hard. It�s not the difficulty of controlling a strong passion like a bad temper; it�s the difficulty involved in making a complex moral judgment, the difficulty of �knowing how far one can go in the direction of forgiveness without compromising values of genuine importance.� If the vindictive passions can be �instruments of our self-defense, our self-respect, and our respect for the demands of morality,� then in forgiving we make ourselves vulnerable and we risk losing our respect for ourselves and for the common good. We also risk the sin of scandal, suggests Murphy, because �failing to resent (or hastily forgiving) the wrongdoer runs the risk that I am endorsing that very immoral message for which the wrongdoer stands.� These objections disappear, though, if we demand that the wrongdoer repent before he is granted forgiveness. By repenting, he comes to share the appropriate vindictive attitudes towards his own wrongdoing. If he is truly remorseful he will inflict more suffering on himself due to his guilty conscience than could be exacted from him were he defiantly unrepentant�and all of this happens without the difficult and costly work of punishing him. We can forgive him because he can�t forgive himself. A too-ready willingness to forgive promotes injustice. There must be a time for recognition of the extent of offense. We can't forgive what we haven't acknowledged. Not only must the victim acknowledge the offense done to him, but there must be acknowledgement on the part of the perpetrator. The absense of acknowledgement lays a double burden on the soul of the victim. To a certain extent that is the issue that lies behind our abuse crisis. A Church that refused to acknowledge the sins commited against some members of Her laity made forgiveness an almost insurmountable requirement for the victims. It is almost humanly impossible to forgive what we know will be done again and again. If we can't forgive, we cannot heal. Forgiveness is a requirement for the soul of the victim before health can be restored. We cannot be what God calls us to be when injustice fills our heart. A perpetrator of an offense lays a heavy burden on his victim--the burden of forgiveness which the innocent victim cannot escape. If our bishops move too quickly to calling for forgiveness, they will trivialize both the crimes and the victims, locking them once more in a sense of injustice. We owe it to those who have been abused to take the time to recognize what has been done to them both on the part of the perpetrators and on the part of the Church, in the full depth of its inhumanity. This cannot be rushed. As much as we all would like to have it behind us, the rush to dismissal is injust and unChristian. Ultimately, though, the only way to get beyond the burden of forgiveness when grave injustices are done to us, is to give the offense to God and let go of it, knowing that while God is Love, God is also Justice. There is some consolation in knowing that ultimately the perpetrator will stand before God and give an account of the sinfulness in his life and the harm he has done, and God is the ultimate judge because He knows not only what is in each and every lifetime, but also what lodges in each and every heart; and He invariably knows the appropriate punishment for each and every crime. On that knowledge we can place our anger and resentment, and walk away without them, healed. Love without justice is an enabler. Justice without love is an executioner. CarrieTomko@aol.com

DEAL HUDSON'S EVALUATION OF THE ABUSE REPORT I've highlighted some of the statements that are important. * * * * * * * * * * * * * Getting It Right CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter February 27, 2004 ********************************************** Dear Friend, I just left a press conference with the USCCB's National Review Board where they released the findings of their report on clergy sex abuse. You'll remember that a little over a month ago, the bishops' conference released a different study on the performance of the various American dioceses in implementing the nationwide abuse charter. Reporters came out in droves for the results of that audit, but everyone knew that the real news would be coming today. This morning, we got all the data that the previous report didn't cover... the number of accusations of sexual abuse... the number of priests charged with or convicted of abuse... every reported case since 1950. And not only that... the Review Board was also slated to release their assessment of the true cause of the scandal. This, of course, is the Big Question. So what did the Board find? First, they presented the numbers from the survey conducted by John Jay College. The organization had a 98% response rate from the various dioceses and eparchies they contacted for information, which is unheard of for this kind of study. This gave them an accurate overall picture of the abuse situation. As for the specific results, they found that, since 1950, 4,392 priests had credible allegations of abuse brought against them -- about 4% of priests. The number of reported victims of abuse is 10,667. Not counting Boston's recent $85 million settlement (and about 14% of dioceses who still had settlements pending), the Church to date has spent approximately $572 million in payment to abuse victims. That's the big picture. Now let's take a closer look at the numbers. I have a feeling you won't see much of the following in the mainstream media reports... Not surprisingly, the occurrence of abuse peaked in the 1970s and the year 1980 specifically. The greatest number of abusers came from priests ordained in the 1960s, and the highest number of abusers came from the class of 1970. The report also broke down the facts regarding the victims -- and this is revealing. Overall, 81% of abuse victims were male, and 78% were at or past the age of puberty. In general, the highest rate of abuse occurred among males aged 11 to 14. In other words, most of the abuse involved gay priests molesting teenage boys. This is called homosexuality, not pedophilia. After the numbers were laid out, Bob Bennett, the Washington attorney who headed the National Review Board's research committee, stood to present the board's interpretation of the data. Bennett explained that they were most interested in two questions: How could such a high number of predators exist in the priesthood, and how did some of them remain in office after the allegations of abuse were made known? Regarding the first question, the Board concluded that two main factors contributed to the existence of these abusers in the Church: one, dioceses and orders didn't screen priestly candidates properly (and so sexually and emotionally immature men were admitted to the priesthood). The other main factor was poor seminary formation, where seminarians were not properly prepared for the rigors of celibacy in a hypersexualized world and in the all-male environment of the seminary. Bennett pointed out that many seminaries lost their way in the 1970s, and that this surely contributed to the problem. This is all true enough, but what he said next was particularly encouraging. He explained that any evaluation of this data must be mindful of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the abuse was homosexual in nature. What does that mean, then, for the way we screen, accept, and train seminarians? Furthermore, he was careful to point out that celibacy was clearly not the problem, calling it instead a gift to the Church. As for the bishops and their roles, the Board came down hard. They noted that the crisis was "a failing not simply on the part of the priests who have sexually abused minors but more significantly on the part of bishops and other church leaders who did not act effectively to preclude that abuse in the first instance or respond appropriately when it occurred." They concluded that bishops too often placed the interests of their priests above the victims, relied on a certain amount of secrecy, and were in general unwilling to confront or correct other bishops and hold them accountable for their own actions. Bennett spoke bluntly, saying they "put their heads in the sand." The Board's report includes some recommendations for the future. Those include better screening of candidates for the priesthood, "increased sensitivity" responding to abuse allegations, greater bishop accountability, better relations with the civil authorities in reporting abuse, and further study into all these areas. While they were harsh with the hierarchy, the Board also made it clear that the bishops are moving in the right direction now and are beginning to take more responsibility... this study was itself an important first step. Bennett concluded by saying that the "ultimate resolution" of the crisis would be found in an "abiding commitment to faith and morality." Here's what I think of the Board's results... Above all, I congratulate them on a job well done. I'm both impressed with their work and (I must confess) a little surprised. This was an extremely thorough report that wrestled with a lot of the tough questions, and for the most part, they came out on top. The majority of the concerns you and I had were addressed. First and foremost, the board was honest about the homosexual question. This data now proves what we've long suspected: The sex abuse scandal has more to do with homosexuality than with pedophilia. The report points out that, "given the nature of the problem of clergy sexual abuse of minors, the reality of the culture today, and the male-oriented atmosphere of the seminary, a more searching enquiry is necessary for a homosexually oriented man by those who decide whether he is suitable for the seminary and for ministry. For those bishops who choose to ordain homosexuals, there appears to be a need for additional scrutiny...." The Board was also honest about the root causes of the scandal, giving a full and nuanced analysis. They didn't blame it on celibacy, or the hierarchy, or any of the other tired excuses that Voice Of The Faithful and friends like to trot out. They were clear that "celibacy did not cause the crisis, but the Church did an inadequate job both of screening out those individuals who were destined to fail in meeting the demands of living a celibate life and forming others to meet those demands." The board was also critical of the bishops for the right reasons. This was NOT bishop bashing, but simply an honest recognition that many bishops didn't exercise enough oversight or responsiveness to credible allegations of abuse. And finally, the Board took a critical look at the seminaries, an area that has long needed a thorough housecleaning. This was a crucial point to make, and I'm glad they made it. In the end, a lot more work needs to be done to get a clearer picture of the problems and solutions. But if this study is a sign of things to come, we have every reason to be hopeful. By the way, if you want to read the reports for yourself, you can see them online at: http://www.catholicreviewboard.com/report01.html http://www.catholicreviewboard.com/johnjaypdfindex.html Have a great weekend, Deal P.S. As I mentioned to you a few days ago, I took part in a debate on The Passion last night in New York. It was very interesting... I'll give you a full report early next week. ************************************************************** To learn more about CRISIS Magazine, visit http://www.crisismagazine.com/subscribe.htm ************************************************************** ************************************************************** In spite of the fact this is a good evaluation, he still does not ask why there has been this breakdown, both in the seminary formation process and in the bishops accountability process. Why did this moral laxity develop and continue for so long? What are the factors behind the thinking that this activity was acceptable when it clearly violates both vows and commandments? All he has done is pass the buck up the ladder to the bishops and let it hang there on their rung as though naming them defines the problem. It doesn't. Nor does it explain the Vatican's nonchalance. Carrie CarrieTomko@aol.com

Friday, February 27, 2004

LINK TO THE CATHOLIC REVIEW BOARD REPORT on the sexual abuse crisis. Section F of the report addresses the Vatican's role in dealing with the crisis. In April 2002, Pope John Paul II summoned cardinals from the United States and the leadership of the Conference to the Vatican to discuss the problem of sexual abuse of minors by priests in the United States. Following that meeting, the Holy Father issued a clear statement that "there is no place in the priesthood or the religious life for those who would harm the young." That statement paved the way for adoption of the Charter and the Essential Norms by the bishops in June 2002. Prior thereto, however, the Vatican had refrained from assuming a significant role with respect to the response of the bishops in the United States to allegations of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy. The Vatican did not recognize the scope or gravity of the problem facing the Church in the United States despite numerous warning signs; and it rebuffed earlier attempts to reform proce�dures for removing predator priests.... When bishops in the United States first requested a process to deal with sexual abuse of minors by priests, it appears that the seriousness of this issue and the magnitude of the problem were not appreciated fully in Rome, perhaps in part because, as noted above, some bishops elected to sidestep the canonical process and consequently never prosecuted cases that reached the Vatican. In any event, these requests for an expedited process were not granted, largely out of concern that such a process would prejudice the rights of the accused priests, even though the bishops who had made the request were careful to restrict it to those situations where the priest's guilt already had been established in an impartial and objective forum, such as a state criminal trial or civil litigation where the priest had been afforded full defense rights. Requests to the Vatican by a number of bishops in the United States for an expedited dismissal process were repeated throughout the 1990s, but again to no avail. In 1993, however, Pope John Paul II sent a letter to the bishops in the United States acknowledging that the issue of sexual abuse of minors was arising frequently during their visits to the Holy See. As a result, Pope John Paul II agreed to form a joint committee of experts from the Vatican and the Conference to study how the "universal canonical norms can best be applied to the particular situation of the United States." This Committee approved experimental changes in canon law, effective as of April 1994, which included expanding the limitations period within which a laicization proceeding could be instituted against a priest under canon law on grounds of sexual abuse of a minor until the victim's twenty-eighth birthday. It was not until February 2003, however, that the Vatican created the requested expedited process for the laicization of priests who have sexually abused minors. CarrieTomko@aol.com

BISHOP PILLA'S LETTER A reader found a photo of the letter online at this website. More statistics for Cleveland are given here. $14.4 million paid out. 118 priests accused, which amounts to one out of every 21 priests. 285 victims have come forth so far. 93 percent of incidents occurred before 1990. Will the numbers go up in the future for the last decade? I spent some time at Exposition this afternoon, and stayed around for Vespers and Benediction. For me the old familiar prayers, the Latin hymns, The Divine Praises are still the best remedy for the outrage of these statistics. There is something eternal, something untouchable about that service. Something that still gives me hope in this fallible Church of Divinity combined with humanity and sin. We have numbers, but not all of them. It appears likely that more victims will come forward. And we have no numbers for concensual acts between priests and adult males or females, so the whole picture is not represented by these statistics. What we don't have is an explanation of how this has happened. CarrieTomko@aol.com

DAMAGE CONTROL Bishop Pilla's damage control letter arrived in the mail today. It's not up on the Diocesan website or I'd link it. My first reaction when I saw the envelope was "Round file." But a sense of responsibility forced me to open it. I got about half way through it before I couldn't take any more and put it in the wastebasket. It was just another of the same self-congratulatory "we have it under control now" rhetoric as though the problem can be dismissed. Ummm...guess again bishop! Wishful thinking won't make it happen. I still want to know why. There is little hope of preventing future outbreaks of this corruption unless we identify why this happened. Trust is not going to be an easy thing to restore, and even a whiff of cover-up will prevent trust ever being restored to the laity that have been around for this abomination. CarrieTomko@aol.com

ABUSE TRACKER COMMENTS ON THE REPORT Bishops from West Michigan attended a conference in Dallas in 2002 where they addressed the crisis in the church. The report released today says some bishops realized what was happening in the church and tried to get the Vatican to change church law to act against abusers, but to no avail. A comment further down at the Tracker website offers this from Catholic News Service: In its report Fejb. 27 on the causes of the U.S. clergy sexual abuse crisis, the National Review Board said "grievously sinful" acts of priests and inaction by bishops let "the smoke of Satan" enter the church. For conversation on the report, check out Amy Welborn's blog. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE ABUSE REPORT IS UP ON THE WEBSITE OF JOHN JAY COLLEGE A summary can be seen here. The entire report is lilnked at the bottom of the summary. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE ABUSE REPORT IS DUE OUT TODAY As of now, 7:11 a.m., there is no sign of it. Abuse Tracker has this comment posted on its website: BOSTON (MA) Boston Herald By Associated Press Thursday, February 26, 2004 Victims of clergy sex abuse are reacting angrily to a Boston Archdiocese report showing that 162 of its priests have been accused of molesting 815 minors since 1950. Victims and their lawyers say the numbers of priests and victims are much, much higher. If the comment is correct and this is the quality of reporting we can expect, there is little liklihood that the report will generate anything more than confusion and increased anger. Here is a link to the survey questionnaire. It appears to be long and detailed and requests specific information on individual abusers and victims. CarrieTomko@aol.com

The link below for Russian Gay History doesn't work. Give this one a try. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Thursday, February 26, 2004

RANDOM THOUGHTS The sexual abuse report is expected tomorrow. There are many indications that it is going to be sensational. Those of you who slogged through my ten-part report on influenced on the Papacy will know that Polish/Russian Messianism played a significant part, and that the occult revival was on center stage via Mickiewicz and Soloviev. For that reason this website which contains a report on "Russian Gay History" might be of interest. The report cites Sergei Soloviev, nephew of Vladiomir Soloviev and a devoted follower of his uncle, a historian who says, "nowhere, either in the Orient or in the West, was this vlie unnatural sin taken as lightly as in Russia." The report says further: "The period between the revolutions of 1905 and 1917 was the Silver Age in Russian literature, but something of a golden age for Russian homosexuals. Many important figures led open gay lives, including several members of the Imperial Court. And there is this interesting comment in the article: It was in this context that the Soviet Union recriminalized homosexuality in a decree signed in late 1933. As an article by the writer Maxim Gorky demonstrates, it was also a context in which homosexuality was connected with Nazism at a time when German-Soviet relations were strained; Gorky writes, "eradicate homosexuals and fascism will disappear." Of course, the Nazis themselves criminalized homosexuality only a year later. The website indicates the text of the article "was prepared for The Encyclopedia of Homosexuality. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! CarrieTomko@aol.com

MICHAEL ROSE HAS A LONG ARTICLE AT THE CRUXNEWS WEBSITE ABOUT THE DEATH OF FR. MINKLER This passage is from the article: Likoudis agreed, but admits that he doesn�t know the circumstances surrounding the priest�s death, other than that they seem suspicious. "It�s all speculation at this point," he said. What is not speculation is the fact that Fr. Minkler, a former secretary to Cardinal O�Connor, was asked by the late Archbishop of New York to prepare a brief detailing clerical corruption in the Albany diocese. That report, said Likoudis, was supposedly delivered directly into the hands of Pope John Paul II during a private 1995 meeting with Cardinal O�Connor, who was allegedly trying to facilitate the removal of the Albany bishop. It would seem that Rome knew what was happening in Albany in 1995. And did exactly what about it? An article at timesunion.com indicates: A lawyer is asking Pope John Paul II to help him prove that church leaders knew about a 1995 letter from a local priest that accused Bishop Howard Hubbard of homosexuality -- allegations the bishop denies. John Aretakis wants the Pope to search Hubbard's confidential files in Rome for a letter purportedly written by the Rev. John Minkler, which said the bishop was an active homosexual and guilty of theological transgressions. Capital News reports: Supporters of Bishop Hubbard who tried to speak on his behalf were either shouted down or led out of the room. The Albany Diocese issued a statement accusing Brady and Likoudis of "character assassination against church leaders with whom they disagree." The bishop and the diocese continue to deny all allegations against him. The bishop's supporters believe him.... Brady and Likoudis are also critical of the investigation, led by Mary Jo White, into the allegations against Hubbard. They believe it can't be impartial because it will be paid for by the church, something the diocese refutes. Stephen Brady, Roman Catholic Faithful said, "His credibility, along with many other bishops, is so damaged that he'd be better off stepping down." The diocese said Hubbard will not step down. Brady also outlined allegations against other bishops but offered no documents to prove them. He said he will meet with Mary Jo White later today. Meanwhile in the Syracuse Diocese, Bishop Moyniohan puts a gentle spin on sexual abuse in an article at CruxNews taken from the "New Oxford Review": An intriguing op/ed piece showed up in The Post-Standard of Syracuse, NY, by Marianne Trent and Charles Bailey Jr. (Oct. 23, 2003). Both authors are local representatives of SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests). The authors quote Bishop James Moynihan of the Diocese of Syracuse as recently saying, "It has been difficult to learn the diocese has not been immune to incidents of child abuse" (our italics). Moynihan has been the Ordinary of Syracuse since May 1995. Are we to believe that the priestly sex scandals in his Diocese have come as a bolt out of the blue? That he knew nothing about them?... The authors continue: "Statistics are growing and we [are] now close to 8-10 percent of priests [having] abused. Who are they?� Is there a �sex offender list� for the public to see? Will Moynihan release the names? Will he open the secret archives? Justice needs to be applied to them just as it would be for you and me." The authors conclude: A pedophile priest "is a �slayer of the soul.� If anything, clergy members should be held to a higher standard. They [Moynihan and others like him] still don�t get it." CarrieTomko@aol.com

MARY ANN GLENDON APPROVES CONSTITUTIONAL ENDORSEMENT TO PROTECT THE INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE which Bush has proposed in this article from WSJ Opinion Journal. She unpacks the legal ramifications and far reaching consequences of the law, which go beyond most discussions I've read on the subject. For example, the legalizing of same sex marriage will impact the Social Security program by retroactively bringing new eligibility into the economic pool. It will impact our concept of marriage and the family structure by redefining marriage as a benefit to adults rather than as a family-centered institution. It will impact our religion, opening it up to oversight by the courts: Religious freedom, too, is at stake. As much as one may wish to live and let live, the experience in other countries reveals that once these arrangements become law, there will be no live-and-let-live policy for those who differ. Gay-marriage proponents use the language of openness, tolerance and diversity, yet one foreseeable effect of their success will be to usher in an era of intolerance and discrimination the likes of which we have rarely seen before. Every person and every religion that disagrees will be labeled as bigoted and openly discriminated against. The ax will fall most heavily on religious persons and groups that don't go along. Religious institutions will be hit with lawsuits if they refuse to compromise their principles. Once the courts claim oversight of religion, the legal impact will expand. Ultimately the ICC (the World Court) will have oversight privileges by placing Christian Scriptural teaching into the province of human rights violations. Once the ICC has oversight privileges, we can kiss our Constitutionally guaranteed rights goodbye. The ICC does not operate by the same principles as the American Constitution. Finally, there is the flagrant disregard shown by judges and local officials for the rights of citizens to have a say in setting the conditions under which we live, work and raise our children. Many Americans--however they feel about same-sex marriage--are rightly alarmed that local officials are defying state law, and that four judges in one state took it upon themselves to make the kind of decision that our Constitution says belongs to us, the people, and to our elected representatives. As one State House wag in Massachusetts put it, "We used to have government of the people, by the people and for the people, now we're getting government by four people!" Whether one is for, against or undecided about same-sex marriage, a decision this important ought to be made in the ordinary democratic way--through full public deliberation in the light of day, not by four people behind closed doors. That deliberation can and must be conducted, as President Bush stated, "in a manner worthy of our country--without bitterness or anger." This topic is being discussed at EnvoyEncore. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! CarrieTomko@aol.com

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

MIRACLES ON "THE PASSION" SET took place according to this editorial from Michael Brown at Spirit Daily. Even in the early phases of script writing, the choice of Anne Catherine Emmerich's book as a source of details for the movie, was somewhat out of the ordinary. Brown writes: Strange lightning plagued the set of the movie. The assistant director, Jan Michelini, was dubbed "Lightning Boy" after lightning struck his umbrella during filming on a hilltop in Matera, Italy. He suffered light burns on the tips of his fingers. A few months later, a storm rolled in and Michelini, again carrying an umbrella, was standing beside star Jim Caviezel on top of a hill -- "Golgotha, with Caviezel on the Cross -- when lighting struck again. Both Caviezel and Michelini were struck this time. The main bolt hit Caviezel and one of its forks hit Michelini's umbrella. "I glanced over and see lightning coming out of Caviezel's ears," said McEveety. "There have been a lot of unusual things happening, good things like people being healed of diseases, a couple of people have had sight and hearing restored, another guy was struck by lightning while we were filming the crucifixion scene and he just got up and walked away," noted Gibson. I wonder why none of the reviewers of this movie have mentioned that? CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE AOL WELCOME SCREEN TODAY features a segment on The Da Vinci Code. This is one of the linked articles from the welcome screen. "The Da Vinci Con" by Laura Miller. The article also talks about Holy Blood, Holy Grail, written Baigent, Lincoln, and Leigh. (This website is NOT part of the AOL Welcome Screen, is interesting in light of Miller's article. The picture is Michael Baigent. If you scroll down to the bottom of the screen, you'll see that Michael Baigent is the Editor of the popular magazine "Freemasonry Today.") This website is also linked on the AOL Welcome Screen. Da Vinci Code Spurs Debate: Who was Mary Magdalene?" from National Geographic. The article says that not all scholars accept Brown's theory. And there is this article from "Fortune Magazine" which says in part: This one is pure Catholic Church conspiracy, word puzzles, and a villainous, self-mutilating albino named Silas. The basic premise rests on Brown's (hotly contested) assertion that the Church has suppressed the real truth about Jesus and Mary Magdalene for thousands of years. The Da Vinci Code started on the road to unexpected smash success when a new Doubleday editor, Jason Kaufman, acquired the novel, hoping it would sell between 20,000 and 50,000 copies. (There are 6.1 million copies now in print; barring an unexpected wave of unsold copies returned by stores, that should soon vault the book ahead of the 4.3 million copies of The Bridges of Madison County sold in 1993.) When the manuscript was distributed in-house, however, it was a sensation. "Everyone went bat shit," says Doubleday president Steve Rubin. There are also links for "talk about it" and "buy the book." The point of all this is not to advertise the book, believe it or not! Anything that makes the AOL Welcome screen is a hot topic, so I thought I'd tip readers who subscribe to a different server how popular the book has become. CarrieTomko@aol.com

REMEMBER MAN THAT THOU ART DUST AND TO DUST THOU SHALT RETURN REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL Being a cradle Catholic, I always have this nagging sense that Ash Wednesday should have a lot more meaning for me than it actually has. I mean, it's not just Ash Wednesday when I'm reminded that I'm dust. There is usually someone around ready and willing to remind me of it almost any day of the year. (Just yesterday a couple of posters in Amy's blog did the honors.) I don't just wake up on Ash Wednesday and suddenly feel repentence and sense my mortality. A much greater reminder of it comes when painting a bedroom takes three days...a job that my husband reminded me used to take only one. The great downhill slide is upon us, it would seem. And then there is the problem of the Christ candle. The one from the advent wreath. It's still on my table. I still light it each day at dinner. And I still think about why I light it. I'm hopelessly behind season. That candle says He is still in diapers, when Ash Wednesday tells me He is about to be tortured and die. One of the curses of mortality is this sense of time speeding up. So maybe I have a few more years. Or a lot of them. Or maybe today is my last day. Living it as though it is my last day is not appropriate only for Lent. I checked out a couple of blogs this morning and discovered yet again how badly I'm missing the boat. There is a lot of heartfelt Catholicism in the blogs this morning. A lot of the sort of repentent sentiment that should be in this one. If I were truly a good Catholic. Too often I fall too short of the mark. And then there is the problem of Lenten sacrifice. I want it to be meaningful. But I also want to make it to Easter without falling off the wagon. Coffee? Not really a sacrifice. Movies? I think the last one I saw was last summer. TV? Well no. I've already given that up. Computer time? Um, as I said, I want to make it to Easter. Reading occult books? I'm in the midst of three of them and the abuse statistics are about to come out. This isn't a good time to take a sabbatical. And so I come to the same place I come to every year after going through this exercise. Chocolate. It is possible to give up chocolate. Just. And it is a sacrifice, as anyone who knows me can testify. But it's so trite. So lacking in creativity. So conventional. So routine. I went looking for inspiration in the news media and found some stories about Ash Wesnesday: Pictures of the Ash Wednesday service in the U.K. outside of Parliament can be seen here. First United Methodist Church is marking Ash Wednesday with "Holy Rock" at 5:30 in the Fellowship Hall. Holy Rock??? Is the babe demonstrating this ritual? Reporter Ron Simon, of the Mansfield News Journal, offers an interesting perspective on Lenten sacrifice: Ash Wednesday arrives Feb. 25, and that means six weeks of Lent and six weeks of no books. Now this annual book embargo started as a Lenten gesture for Christ's life sacrifice. When I was a squirt, we used to give up candy for Lent. Or beating up on our sisters, etc. As an adult, I thought I'd try doing this a few years ago and found the results to be very good. At the rate I buy books, a six-week respite is a gift, not a burden. Maybe I should try giving up coffee. Now that would be hard. So hard I don't even want to think about it. I always wind up using the unspent book money to buy a new bookcase. Which is filled by the end of the year. Not a very Christian thing to do, I guess. Um, well, no... From the Hopkinton Crier we get just the opposite of Cardinal Ratzinger's ideas about Eucharist...for the Episcopaleans, more is better: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 61 Wood Street (Rte. 135), will mark the beginning of the Lenten Season with a special Holy Eucharist Ash Wednesday service on Feb. 25, 7 p.m. There will also be Holy Eucharist services at 7:00 p.m. every Wednesday during Lent, followed by 30 minutes of reflection and meditation. All are welcome to attend these services during this period of self-examination and self-discovery. (It would be so convenient if small city newspapers would put their location on their website so that those of us who don't live there would actually know where they are.) From South Mississippi's Sun Herald, a minister notes how much more enthusiastic people are for Mardi Gras: "I wish we could get half as many people celebrating the meaning of this week at the Ash Wednesday service," he said. "There will be thousands of people lining the parade route, even in the rain, then Ash Wednesday comes along, and they say, 'Gee, I would have come down to the church, but it was raining.' For Hagerstown Catholics, yesterday was Fastnacht Day: Local bakers kneaded mountains of dough and worked around the clock, cooking thousands of square-shaped fastnachts, doughnuts traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday. Juggling customers at the rate of about 80 an hour, staff at Sanders Cookie Jar Bakery, on Pennsylvania Avenue in Hagerstown, sold 800 dozen fastnachts before noon Tuesday, owner Perry Sanders said. Several customers defined Fastnacht Day as a mixture of cultural and religious tradition. "We're Catholic, and it's a family tradition," said Patti Leazier of Clear Spring. "It represents getting rid of old fat. Cleaning out the grease or lard and starting new." And last but not least is Ash Wednesday on Black Set, (this thing loads v-e-r-y slowly. Be patient) which describes the filming of a movie in Mumbai. It seems that instead of palm branches the set generated the ashes here, though it happened last Wednesday, not today. And it's not the first time it's happened, either. Wonder what this movie is about, anyway? I read the story as a contrast with U.S. safety standards for something like this. Sort of made me appreciate the way we remember Ash Wednesday over here. And now I'm back to the chocolate. Maybe I'll just go deal with the Christ candle and think about this later. CarrieTomko@aol.com

THE POPE'S ASH WEDNESDAY MESSAGE from Wired News: VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope John Paul urged Catholics on the first day of Lent to reflect on the protection of children, speaking at a time when the problem of sexual abuse of minors overshadows the church itself in the United States. "I wanted to draw particular attention to the difficult conditions that so many children in the world face," the 83-year-old pontiff told thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Basilica for Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, a 40-day period of abstinence. The pope, whose Church is still recovering from a sexual abuse scandal in the United States, announced last month that the theme for Catholic reflection during Lent would be the protection of children against all forms of violence and exploitation by adults. CarrieTomko@aol.com

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

OUTING THE BIBLE an article from East Bay Express, sent by a reader, contains the following quote: But this religious crisis didn't appear out of thin air. Its intellectual and physical roots have been growing just beneath the surface for years. In seminaries across the country, at both the parish level and within whole dioceses, homosexuals have been preaching, studying, and remaining sexually active as they worship Christ. "What's the difference between a Jesuit rec room and a gay bar?" asked former Jesuit Robert Goss, who said his sexual experiences at bathhouses mirrored his early days at Harvard Divinity School. "Only the location." Remember when the Jesuits were Catholic? (Well, I'm older than you, I guess.) CarrieTomko@aol.com

CHRIST FILM 'RIDDLED WITH ERRORS' says BBC News: Scholars have said Mel Gibson's film about the last 12 hours of Jesus' life is riddled with historical errors. Their complaints about The Passion of the Christ range from inaccuracies about hairstyles and clothes to a lack of gospel context. Gibson has said he consulted scholars, theologians, priests and spiritual writers before scripting the film.... Scholars critical of the film questioned its characters' use of Latin and Aramaic, saying Greek was the main language spoken in Jerusalem during Jesus' time. Anthropologist Joe Zias also questioned the portrayal of Jesus with long hair, saying: "Jewish men back in antiquity did not have long hair." John Dominic Crossan, a professor of religious studies at the De Paul University in Chicago, said lack of historical context was the movie's "basic flaw". Other experts criticised the depiction of Pontius Pilate, Jesus' crucifixion, and even his wearing of a loin cloth. CarrieTomko@aol.com

MORE ON THE DEATH OF FR. MINKLER REPORTED AT THE WANDERER It looks like Fr. Minkler died of a heart attack, but what a heroic life he led. Surely he is one of the saints in heaven today! CarrieTomko@aol.com

Monday, February 23, 2004

PAUL LIKOUDIS GIVES SOME NEW DETAILS ON ALBANY AND FR. MICKLER at FreeRepublic. One of the commenters points directly at the Pope for the condition of the Albany Diocese. CarrieTomko@aol.com

RUSSIAN PENTECOSTALS MARK JUBILEE according to Russia Religion News, Dec. 2003. (You have to scroll way down.) From the website: RUSSIAN PENTECOSTALS CELEBRATE 90TH ANNIVERSARY OF PRESENCE IN RUSSIA Ceremonies devoted to the 90th anniversary of the first Pentecostal congregation in Russia were held 10 December in the office of the Union of Christians of Evangelical Faith--Pentecostals (KhVEP) in Moscow.... The first Pentecostal organization on the territory of the Russian empire arose in 1907, in Finland, which was a part of the St. Petersburg province. The first Pentecostal congregation in the capital of the empire appeared in 1913. At the present time, 1350 congregations with a total of more than 300,000 parishioners are registered in Russia. The jubilee celebrations were the occasion for drawing conclusions. Those assembled spoke about the active participation of Pentecostals in resolving the most acute social problems: the struggle with drug addiction, preventing the spread of AIDS, and aid for the homeless, orphans, and prisoners. At the present time in various regions of the Russian federation 123 rehabilitation centers are functioning. In them not only drug and alcohol dependent people undergo rehabilitation and return to useful life, but also persons without a permanent place of residence. Hundreds of volunteers take the gospel and words of consolation into prisons. Every summer hundreds of Christian camps are set up to which children from underprivileged families are invited. Visitation and delivery of free help to homes for the elderly, children's homes, and prisons are a regular practice of churches of the union. Pentecostals have been active in Russia nearly as long as in the U.S. The Azusa St. Revival that began the Pentecostal Movement in America took place in April 1906. CarrieTomko@aol.com

AMY WELBORN HAS DE-CODED DA VINCI Her new book is available only through Our Sunday Visitor right now. CarrieTomko@aol.com

ALBANY MEETING is the topic of a thread at Amy Welborn's blog. The thread concerns a meeting in Albany at which Paul Likoudis and Stephen Brady were the speakers. The topic was the recent sudden death of Fr. John Minkler. In the comments box is a response from someone who was there. The details are interesting. This was another battlefield where the two sides in the de facto schism came face to face. It wasn't pretty. Rod Dreher wades in with some comments of his own in defense of Stephen Brady. It's worth the time to take a look. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us! CarrieTomko@aol.com

AN ANALYSIS OF VATICAN KNOWLEDGE OF THE SCANDAL from Lee Penn. Lee writes: Here are four related stories with a common theme: when it comes to the abuse scandal, the Vatican is in deep denial ... still. ======================================== Story 1: Boston Globe, Quote: "The Vatican will soon publish a report about sexual abuse by clergy that draws heavily on scientific opinion, including specialists skeptical about removing from the ministry any priest who has molested a child, a psychologist who helped edit the report said." Does this mean that, just as dogs get "one free bite," so do the pedo-priests? Quote: "We're on a learning curve," said Scicluna, whose office is a key player in setting church positions on the sex abuse. Insight came, he said, on "how to secure a safer environment for young people." A learning curve .... read the later stories to see the truth about that. --------------------------------------------------------- Boston Globe story starts here [I have abbreviated it to avoid copyright infringement. Lee sent the entire story - ct]: Vatican report is said to question zero-tolerance on abuse Rehabilitation of clergy stressed in talks with panel By Frances D'Emilio, Associated Press, 2/21/2004 VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican will soon publish a report about sexual abuse by clergy that draws heavily on scientific opinion, including specialists skeptical about removing from the ministry any priest who has molested a child, a psychologist who helped edit the report said. The report grew out of a four-day symposium on pedophilia held behind closed doors at the Vatican in April. Monsignor Charles Scicluna, a symposium participant, said scientific feedback will help the Vatican focus its policy toward offenders and victims. "We're on a learning curve," said Scicluna, whose office is a key player in setting church positions on the sex abuse. Insight came, he said, on "how to secure a safer environment for young people." During that gathering, church officials listened to and questioned therapists and other clinical specialists from the United States, Canada, and Germany. Among the issues on the agenda was how molesters might be rehabilitated. The leader of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops said yesterday the survey had to be done so the church can move beyond the abuse crisis. "I'm not afraid," said Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill. "We need this information to make sure that the steps we have taken thus far are adequate to the problem. We need to know the truth." The report is expected to be published in the next few weeks and will be distributed to bishops' conferences worldwide, a Vatican official said Thursday on condition of anonymity. "Most of the experts present were not sympathetic" to zero-tolerance policies that call for removing priests from the ministry when credible allegations arise, said psychologist Karl Hanson, who researches sex offenders for the Canadian government. He spoke at the symposium and was senior editor of the Vatican report. Many dioceses say they are aggressively pursuing zero-tolerance policies after being stung by charges that church hierarchy was trying to protect abusive priests, often by shuffling them from parish to parish. Hanson, speaking by phone from Ottawa, said several specialists told Vatican officials they objected to the "blanket and overly strong reaction." Among those specialists was another Canadian psychologist, William Marshall, who has treated priests in his work with sex offenders. Marshall said by phone from Kingston, Ontario, that he told Vatican officials that zero-tolerance is a "disaster." [snip] [The report goes on to make an argument for rehibilitation of the offenders and the end of zero tolerance - ct] ======================================== Story 2: And here is some classic denial and obfuscation from Cardinal Ratzinger, the Church's guardian of doctrinal purity: Code: ZE02120324 Date: 2002-12-03 Cardinal Ratzinger Sees a Media Campaign Against Church Sees Agenda Behind the Reporting in U.S. MURCIA, Spain, DEC. 3, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger suggests that a campaign is under way against the Catholic Church, judging by the way scandals involving priests have been reported in the United States. The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith shared these views when he met last weekend with a group of journalists, including a ZENIT correspondent. The occasion was the congress "Christ: Way, Truth and Life," over which the cardinal presided, at the Catholic University of St. Anthony. The first part of this interview appeared Sunday. Another part will appear Wednesday. Q: This past year has been difficult for Catholics, given the space dedicated by the media to scandals attributed to priests. There is talk of a campaign against the Church. What do you think? Cardinal Ratzinger: In the Church, priests also are sinners. But I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offenses among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower. In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1% of priests are guilty of acts of this type. The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts. Therefore, one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the Church. It is a logical and well-founded conclusion." [Comment by Lee: For dark humor, contrast his response to the pedo-priest scandal to his views on the emerging anti-religious consensus in the European Union]: "Q: There is a debate over the inclusion of the word of God and references to Europe's Christian past in the preambles of the future Constitution. Do you think there can be a united Europe that has turned its back on its Christian past? Cardinal Ratzinger: I am convinced that Europe must not just be something economic [or] political; rather, it is in need of spiritual foundations. It is a historical fact that Europe is Christian, and that it has grown on the foundation of the Christian faith, which continues to be the foundation of the values for this continent, which in turn has influenced other continents. It is imperative to have a foundation of values and, if we ask ourselves what that foundation is, we realize that, beyond the confessions, there are no others outside the great values of the Christian faith. And this is why it is imperative that in the future Constitution of Europe mention is made of the Christian foundations of Europe. I do not wish to fall into the error of constructing a political Catholicism. The faith does not provide political recipes, but indicates the foundations. On one hand, politics has its autonomy, but on the other there is no total separation between politics and faith. There are foundations of the faith that later allow for political reasoning. The question, therefore, is what are these foundations that will enable politics to function? What are the aspects that must be left free? In the first place, it is critical to have an anthropological moral vision, and here faith enlightens us. Is the person of God necessary to have this anthropological vision, which guarantees the freedom of political reasoning? A morality that dispenses with God, fragments, and, therefore, at least the great intuition that there is a God who knows us and who defines the figure of man as an image of God, belongs to these foundations. Moreover [to mention God] is not an act of violence against anyone, it does not destroy anyone's freedom, but opens to all the free space to be able to construct a truly human, moral life." ======================================== Now, move from denial to reality ... the FACT that the Vatican was told 33 years ago that it had a developing problem with its priests. ======================================== Story 3: Here is proof that the Church hierarchy, including the then-bishop of Cracow (and now Pope) Karol Wojytla, was warned of the developing scandal in 1971: Quote: The Role of the Church in the Causation, Treatment and Prevention of the Crisis in the Priesthood From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The Role of the Church in the Causation, Treatment and Prevention of the Crisis in the Priesthood, a report submitted to the Synod of Bishops in Rome in 1971, by Dr Conrad Baars, a Dutch-born Catholic psychiatrist from Minnesota, and based on a study of 1500 priests, suggested that seminary training left priests poorly prepared for a lifetime of celibacy. Most clergy had "psychosexual" problems which often expressed itself in alcohol abuse and heterosexual or homosexual activity. The report recommended specific immediate corrective action, but no implementation of the recommendations followed. 1. "psychosexual immaturity expressed in heterosexual or homosexual activity was encountered often. Virtually all of these priests were . . . suffering from a severe to moderate frustration neurosis�. 2. Less than 15% of priests in Europe and North America were emotionally fully developed; 3. Of the remaining 85%, 20-25% had "serious psychiatric difficulties" that they expressed through alcohol abuse, while 60-70% had less severe degrees of emotional immaturity. Sunday Times report Though the report suggested that immediate corrective action was needed, making ten recommendations, and one of those most active in the Synod was Cardinal Wojtyla, who on October 16, 1978 was elected Pope John Paul II, no implementation of the report's detailed recommendations followed. Rather, the response of the Roman Catholic Church to sex abuse by priests in the 20th century was marked by methods to avoid criminal prosecution or psychiatric treatment." [There is a lot more where this came from; just Google "Conrad Baars" with Vatican and abuse, and you will see many entries on this topic. ======================================== Story 4: And here is a link to a web page, with links to the Doyle-Mouton report, warning the US bishops of the scope of the scandal .... in 1985. To see the Doyle report, scroll down to "Reports of Attorneys General, Grand Juries, Commissions, and Organization" ... and see this line: * Mouton, Doyle, and Peterson, The Problem of Sexual Molestation by Roman Catholic Clergy {1}{2}{3}{4} This is a four-part PDF file, and it takes a long time to load. =========================================== Add it all up ... the Vatican, and other Church authorities, KNEW. And did not act in time. The Vatican was warned again and again, in the 1970s and 1980s, about the current Scandal. They pursued business as usual ... and are now beginning to reap the fruit of their negligence. Lee ======================================================= The conclusion Lee has reached with this report is the same conclusion that comes from reading Berry and Renner's book, Vows of Silence: The Abuse of Power in the Papacy of John Paul II, due out in March, in which the Papacy appears to be grossly negligent in protecting children, while being fully informed of what was happening. How do we understand a Pope who blames the messenger (media) for revealing what he has covered up, when that coverup concernes what the CCC (#1867) terms "sins that cry to heaven" and those sins have been perpetrated on a teenager and sometimes on a child? If steps were being taken to insure this would not continue, while trying to avoid a scandal, perhaps he could be excused, but it appears that nothing was being done to eliminate the abuse, unless we are to count the little vacation priests took at facilities which were mostly a sham. How do I see a man who would do that as being holy? How can his defenders whitewash this? How can he be trusted to lead Catholics to God? If it weren't for the news media, abuse of minors would be in progress today, Feb. 23, 2004. In this instance the Boston Globe has been a better messenger of God than Pope John Paul II. Combine this negligence with his promotion of Soloviev, a philosopher who brought us the divine Sophia; and his youthful fascination with Mickiewicz, a major player in the Paris occult revival; then add to that stew the heresy rampant in our convents that he has not curtailed, and all of the other ills of the Church that I've spelled out in previous posts, and the picture that emerges is of a man who is in the business of allowing to be generated a chaotic situation in a Church made ripe for picking by Her enemies. Has it all been intentional? Carrie CarrieTomko@aol.com

Sunday, February 22, 2004

A LUSTY MONK WITH SPIRITUAL POWER NAMED RASPUTIN Got a mention in The St. Petersburg Times: "Ra-Ra-Rasputin, lover of the Russian queen," and "Russia's greatest love machine" is how the Boney-M hit described Grigory Rasputin and that is how he is most frequently perceived outside of Russia. But inside Russia the name of "Father Grigory," describes a once very ordinary muzhik from a Siberian village who became a favorite of Tsar Nicholas II's family, because he appeared to be able to cure the haemophiliac Tsarevich Alexei. The priest is surrounded by myths and legends about his tremendous spiritual powers.... But alas he was murdered. So he has his own room in the museum. The Rasputin tour takes walkers to "Father Grigory's" last apartment on Gorokhovaya Ulitsa, the site of his murder and many other sites related to the monk's life. Most people who work at the Museum of Political History of Russia are apparently not superstitious to have wax figures of Rasputin and his self-confessed murderers in Hall No.13. Still the historians are a bit at a loss when they try to explain sudden electricity failures in Hall No. 13. The lights have flickered off and on for minutes on several occasions since the exhibition began in mid-January. But the museum staff were staggered when they saw the wax figure of Yusupov had changed its position, becoming much closer to Rasputin. "Who knows what it means," a museum guard said. "This hall is no different from others, in terms of everything from floor cover to temperature regime." This is the second news clip in the last week or so that has mentioned phenomena related to electricity when something occult is involved. Hmmm... CarrieTomko@aol.com

FORMER PSYCHIC TRAVELS LECTURE CIRCUIT TO GIVE A WARNING ST. PETERSBURG - For more than 30 years, Ben Alexander has been traveling the world, criticizing Ouija boards and psychics, battling witchcraft and Wicca, finding fault with the likes of Harry Potter and Dungeons and Dragons. What makes his talks different? He believes. He believes in ectoplasm, a substance that some spiritualists say spews from the mouth or stomach of a medium in the midst of a darkened seance to form a spirit. He believes spirits can materialize and speak to ordinary people about extraordinary things. He thinks some people are psychic, possessed of special powers to reach where most can't. Alexander, who lived in St. Petersburg for 15 years and recently moved to Bradenton, says he has experienced all of it. But he has made it his mission to stop it. He says speaking to spirits is the same as speaking to Satan. CarrieTomko@aol.com

JUSTIN ASKED SOME QUESTIONS IN A COMMENT BOX... that I tried to answer in a comment box, but it got complicated since the answer was too long to fit in two boxes. So I'm taking the liberty belonging to the blog owner and being long-winded here instead... Carrie, being in union with Rome is no guarantee against schism. I think it is, Justin. There have been few breaks with the Latin Church, but as soon as a group separates from the Pope, schism follows schism, follows schism. Look at Protestantism. The occult groups are notorious for it. How many anti-popes have there been? There are even some today. Still the Church continues through the papacy, not apart from it. More importantly, I believe you yourself have said that there is a de facto schism in the Catholic Church today. Actually it was Cardinal Gagnon who said it. Only grace has kept it from becoming de jure. At this point, do you think that you are on the same side of that schism as the pope? No. Nevertheless, I am still in the Church that Christ founded. There is a reason we are called the Body of Christ. I can only hope that the day will not come when I have no choice but to leave. I think that when that time comes, I will probably leave the formal practice of faith. But I make that statement while still having an orthodox Mass to attend each Sunday. If or when that changes, I may see it differently. This is my reasoning...If one day you would decide to tell your child that he (she?) should reject God, and if your child would instead reject your requirement, would he be any less your child? In the history of this Church there have been bad Popes, yet the faith continued through the bad papacy, not apart from it. It's not really a matter of trusting the Pope. It's rather a matter of trusting God to somehow keep the faith on track in the long run no matter the nature of the man who holds the papal office. The occupants come and go. The office remains. It is the office I am choosing to cling to, not the man himself. Apart from that office, it is not possible to fully know Christ. The faith is bound up in Scripture, Tradition, and the magisterium. The only way we can know Christ is through the Church. Apart from the Church Christ can be anything we decide to make of Him. When He becomes whatever we decide to make of Him, He disappears from the landscape. He becomes non-existent apart from our imagination. In short, He becomes a myth. There is a reason we are the Body of Christ and others are not. Apart from the magisterium even the Gnostic Jesus is authentic. Nevertheless, when a Pope departs from Tradition, he must be listened to with a very skeptical ear. When a Pope takes up what has previously been declared a heresy, we must at the very least reserve judgment, and even if necessary reject the new teaching. Just like a child continues to honor his parents even if they tell him to do something that he must refuse to do because his conscience is attuned to God first. CarrieTomko@aol.com

EMAIL FROM LEE PENN He writes: Here are two Zenit press releases, in which it is clear that the Vatican has an oddly gentle description of pederasty as a "crime against customs." ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- First, this press release, from January 8, 2002: AOL link: ZENIT News Agency--The World Seen from Rome Text URL: http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=14847 (For emphasis, I put some of the text in bold.) ==================================== Code: ZE02010807 Date: 2002-01-08 Some Offenses by Priests to Be Judged Exclusively by Tribunal Papal Document Focuses on Pederasty and Wrongdoing Involving Sacraments VATICAN CITY, JAN. 8, 2002 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II has decided that some offenses by priests involving the Eucharist, the sacrament of reconciliation, and pederasty will be judged exclusively by the Tribunal of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. [snip - so as to avoid copyright infringement - ct] This text, signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the congregation, lists four "grave offenses" of priests against the Eucharist, three against the sacrament of reconciliation, and one against customs. The Sixth Commandment is "You shall not commit adultery." Pederasty is the crime against customs. It is a "sin against the Sixth Commandment committed between a minor younger than 18 years, and a priest." In virtue of these norms, issued by the congregation at the Pope�s request, any bishop or superior of a religious order or congregation who is aware of such offenses or crimes committed by priests is obliged to "carry out investigations" and to send the results to the Vatican congregation. [snip - ct] ================================================ That was in early 2002, just as the Boston scandal was hitting the headlines. Now, two years into the Scandal, the Vatican is still talking in similar fashion. See the following Zenit press release, isssued early in February 2004: AOL link: Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome Text URL: http://www.zenit.org/english/visualizza.phtml?sid=48627 (For emphasis, I put some of the text in bold). ========================================================= Code: ZE04020607 Date: 2004-02-06 Pope Says "Balanced" Formation Will Help Avoid Future Scandals Calls for Rigorous Sanctions Against Priests Who Commit Crimes VATICAN CITY, FEB. 6, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II said the Church should rigorously apply canon-law sanctions against priests who commit crimes, and suggested the best guarantee for the future is "correct and balanced" priestly formation. [snip - ct] In his address, the Holy Father said he was saddened by the "noteworthy increase" in the last two years of the number of disciplinary cases that the Vatican congregation had to address given the "crimes against customs" ("delicta contra mores") attributed to priests. In his 2001 letter "Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela," John Paul II established certain crimes of priests reserved to the judgment of the doctrinal congregation. They are, specifically, crimes against the faith (for example, apostasy or heresy), against the sacraments (sacrilegious acts, etc.), and against customs (in particular, pederasty). "Canonical norms applied with justice and fairness tend to guarantee the exercise of the right of defense of the accused as well as the needs of the common good," the Pope said. [snip - ct] ================================================= [Lee's analysis:] For these people, pederasty is a "crime against customs." Oh .... and as we all know, "customs" are relative and variable things. What does this say about what the Vatican REALLY believes about the seriousness of the offense? By contrast, when the Vatican wants to blast a sexual sin, they use stronger language: Masturbation? In article 2352 of the Catechism, it is described as "an intrinsically and gravely disordered action." Fornication? In article 2353 of the Catechism, it is described as "gravely contrary to the dignity of persons" and "a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young." Pornography? In article 2354 of the Catechism, it is described as "a grave offense." Prostitution? In article 2355 of the Catechism, it is described as "a social scourge." Rape? Article 2356 of the Catechism says, accurately, that rape "causes grave damage that mark the victim for life" and is "always an intrinsically evil act." As for the rape of children, the Catechism says, "Graver still is the rape of children committed by parents (incest) or those responsible for the education of the children entrusted to them." Homosexual sex acts? According to the Catechism, "under no circumstances can they be approved." So .... what does the Vatican believe, in fact, about the gravity of pederasty? Is it a grave offense that can never be approved or condoned .... or just a "crime against customs?" Lee CarrieTomko@aol.com

RESEARCH IDEAS FROM LEE that might be useful in evaluating the statistics from the dioceses that are due out this week. He writes: Here are some ideas from a journalist for public use in researching and reporting on the Catholic Scandals. Use them yourselves, or forward them to other writers, attorneys, police, survivor advocates, activist organizations, etc. I would love to see what a team of victims' attorneys could do with some of the maps and charts suggested below. [I had sent a earlier version of these ideas to a list of survivor advocates in May 2002. With the imminent release of the statistical report on the Scandal, I thought it timely to re-send and update the ideas.] 1. Compare the treatment (pensions, housing, logistical support, payment of legal bills, job references, etc.) given to priests who left in order to marry, to that given by Church authorities to suspected abuser-priests (at least until zero-tolerance policies appeared, within the last few months). 2. List the dioceses and religious orders who have sent their suspect priests to serve in: (a) marriage tribunals ... and give a special mention to any diocese whose tribunal has a majority of suspects on its staff (b) prisons (c) hospitals (d) overseas missions (e) retreat centers (f) old age homes (g) schools and colleges (h) liturgical planning commissions 3. Publish a map showing which bishops have engaged in cover-ups over the last 50 years. Color the "clean" dioceses blue, where there has been no cover-up or transfers of pedo-priests. Color the offending dioceses various shades of pink. Shade the pink according to the proportion of years in the last 50 that the bishop in charge has been doing a cover-up. The range could be from pale pink for less than 10 years of misrule, to shocking bright pink for 50 years of misrule. And color the diocese RED if its bishop is (or was) both a molester and a cover-up artist. What color will the majority of the dioceses in the US be? 4. Prepare a map of each diocese, and show each Catholic institution that has existed in the last 50 years on the map (parish, school, college/university, religious house, etc.). (This would include some facilities that have since closed - but they are still part of the Church's history in dealing with this problem.) Give each facility a color code. Color the dots blue, if no suspect priest ever served at the site for the last 50 years; light pink, if there was one suspect present there; and so forth, How many of the dots will be blue, and how many dots will be varying shades of pink? 5. To the above map, add arrows and names, to track the movement of suspects around the diocese during the last 50 years. Add arrows from outside the diocese for suspects entering the diocese from elsewhere, and arrows leaving the diocese, for suspects who find a haven in other dioceses or overseas. 6. Prepare an organization chart for each diocese, seminary, religious order, etc., showing the leaders and positions as of 2003-2004, using the most recent official Church directories. Color the boxes: blue, not a suspect. Pink, credibly suspected or proven molestation. Lavender: cover-up artist. Bright red -- molester AND cover-up artist. How many of the boxes will be blue? 7. Do the same org chart as above, but for the national and regional Church bureaucracies. How pink are they now? How pink have they been? 8. Tally the victims over the last 50 years nationally, by age at the time that their molestation began (12 and under, 13-17, and adult) and by sex. 9. For each proven (or credibly suspect) priest/religious, note when and where they were trained, and when they were ordained. How many were in seminary during these 3 periods: before the Council (earlier than 1962), from the Council until the Gauthe scandal and the Doyle report (1962-1985), and more recently (1986 to date)? How many of the perps were ordained in these 3 periods? The statistics will tell the extent to which the problem pre-existed the Council, and the extent (if at all) to which it became less after the mid-1980s. Do the abusers cluster in specific seminaries, or in certain time periods? 10. For each cover-up bishop, analyze when they were in seminary, ordained to the priesthood, and raised to the episcopacy. Do the same analysis for them as for the perps. When were the bad bishops trained, ordained, and consecrated? Any relationship to the Council, or to papal policies? I will bet that these pictures would be VERY INTERESTING to attorneys, to journalists, to prosecutors, and to juries. I will bet that FAR MORE than 2-4% of the dots/boxes/etc. mentioned above will be pink, lavender, or red. "A little leaven leavens the whole loaf." (When I refer above to a "suspect," I mean anyone who has been proven guilty of molestation or cover-up, or against whom credible charges exist - including those for whom the church paid settlements, so the case stayed out of court.) I use 50 years as what seems like a reasonable time window ... but anyone who would actually prepare these pictures could make their own decision on how many years back the pictures should cover. Pursue the truth wherever it leads. Lee Penn CarrieTomko@aol.com

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