Friday, April 23, 2010

Belgian Bishop Quits Over Sex Abuse

April 23, 2010
Belgian Bishop Quits Over Sex Abuse


The longest-serving bishop in Belgium resigned Friday after admitting to sexually abusing “a young man in my close entourage” many years ago, becoming the latest cleric to quit in a spreading abuse scandal.

(Roger Vangheluwe, 73, the bishop of Bruges since 1984 [actually, 1985] )

Vatican Cardinal Bucked US Bishop on Abuse/Time for Catholics to Call Forth Womenpriests and Married Priests

Vatican cardinal bucked US bishop on abuse
Castrillon took up cause of priest who admitted molesting minors
Apr. 22, 2010
By Jason Berry - NCR Online

"Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the former Vatican official who sent a letter in 2001 praising a French bishop for sheltering an abusive priest, had earlier intervened, against the wishes of a U.S. bishop, on behalf of an American abuser priest, according to documents that were part of a lawsuit.

Castrillon pressured Bishop Manuel Moreno, who was bishop of Tucson, Ariz., from 1982-2003, to allow a priest sex abuser to take a pension and work outside the diocese, despite allegations that would later jolt the diocese and cost millions to resolve. Fr Robert Trupia "sexually abused dozens of minor boys" before he was defrocked in 2004, according to documents in the civil case."

The litigation surrounding the case opens a rare window on the operation of the Vatican legal system"...

The trail of the global sexual abuse crisis leads to the Vatican and this article sheds light on a horrendous reality, hard to fathom- the shielding of pedophiles by top-level Vatican officials. Can you imagine allowing a pedophile priest to work in another diocese, putting at risk innocent children and vulnerable youth? Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos intervened to keep Fr.Trupia in ministry. The shuffling of pedophile priests by the hierarchy which resulted in rapes and abuse of youth would make Jesus weep, and should set off alarms among the world's billion Catholics. Our institutional church is on life-support.

Some bishops are suggesting that the people of God do penance for this debacle. Pope Benedict, the cardinals and the bishops should be the ones taking the lead in doing penance for this horrendous abuse of children. This penance should be the transformation of the clerical culture that covered-up this abuse. There must be a a system of accountability put in place, decision-making in the hands of the non-ordained as well as the ordained, and a return to the early church's practice of married priest and women priests.

Catholics, you can call forth vocations in your communities of women and men of integrity. You can support priests in your parishes who are open to working in partnership with women priests and married priests. You have the power to change our church in grassroots communities. There is no reason to tolerate closure of churches. We are a sacramental church and this is our birthright. You can renew our beloved church now.

If women had a place at the table making the decisions, the sex abuse of youth would be handled in an open, transparent way beginning by treating rapes and sexual abuse as crimes. Therefore, if there is an allegation, civil authorities should investigate and church authorities should cooperate and focus on doing justice for both victims and accused.

Bridget Mary Meehan

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Suit Against Pope, Vatican details Wisconsin Abuse

April 22, 2010
Suit against pope, Vatican details Wisconsin abuse
Associated Press Writers

The Vatican dismissed the lawsuit as a publicity stunt that is entirely without merit and rehashes theories already rejected by U.S. courts.

The lawsuit says Sodano, Ratzinger and fellow Vatican official Tarcisio Bertone all knew about the allegations against Murphy and conspired to keep them secret.

Cardinal who praised cover-up bows out of DC Latin Mass/National Catholic Reporter

Cardinal who praised cover-up bows out of DC Latin Mass

"The main celebrant of a solemn Traditional Latin high Mass slated for Saturday at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception has agreed to step aside following objections from sex abuse survivors and others"...

"Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos was named in French press reports last week for praising French Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux-Lisieux in a 2001 letter for refusing to denounce one of his priests who went on to be sentenced to 18 years in jail for raping a boy and abusing 10 other young men"...

"Cardinal Castrillon's letter resurfaced in the coverage of recent disclosures of sexual abuse by priests. He wrote it when he was head of the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy...
"I congratulate you for not denouncing a priest to the civil administration," Cardinal Castrillon wrote to Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux-Lisieux. "You have acted well and I am happy to have a colleague in the episcopate who, in the eyes of history and of all other bishops in the world, preferred prison to denouncing his son, a priest." ...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

"Revising History Vatican Style" by Thomas P. Doyle, National Catholic Reporter

Revising history Vatican style
by Thomas P. Doyle on Apr. 21, 2010 - NCR ONLINE
This is the first time the Vatican has publicly agreed that sexual abuse of minors is not only a crime in the secular world, but one that should be reported to civil authorities.
"The scandal that has been swirling around the institutional church for decades has been caused by the fact that bishops consistently did precisely the opposite of what the Vatican now presents as standard operating procedure"...
” A Vatican spokesman, Fr. Ciro Benedettini said that a reporting requirement had been an internal policy of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith since 2003, a fact that he would have been better advised to keep to himself. If this policy has been buried in deep secrecy, what good is it?”

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, now the Vatican secretary of state, was secretary at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 2002 when he was quoted by John Allen as saying “In my opinion, the demand that a bishop be obligated to contact the police in order to denounce a priest who has admitted the offense of pedophilia is unfounded.” He went on to say that “...civil society must also respect the professional secrecy of priests, as it respects the professional secrecy of other categories.”
"In practice the policy has been to avoid contact with civil authorities and to cover up the crimes and the criminals."
[Tom Doyle is a priest, canon lawyer, addictions therapist and long-time supporter of justice and compassion for clergy sex abuse victims.]

A Woman's Place is in the Church/Newsweek article by Lisa Miller/Roman Catholic Womenpriests Issuing in New Era of Gender Justice in Catholic Church

April 3, 2010
Lisa Miller/Newsweek
"The cause of the Catholic clergy's sex-abuse scandal is no mystery: insular groups of men often do bad things. So why not break up the all-male club?"

"With priestly vocations in steep decline in the U.S., and women running 80 percent of parish ministries, female priests seem an inevitability. A small group of about 100 renegade women have already been ordained "by a bishop in good standing," says Eileen McCafferty DiFranco, who is one of them. Though excommunicated, DiFranco remains unbowed. "Jesus never said only men can be priests."

Roman Catholic Womenpriests are issuing in a new era of partnership and equality that is rooted in the example of Jesus who called women and men to be disciples and equals. (See Luke 8) Women in ordained ministry- deacons, priests and bishops- served their communities for twelve hundred years.(See Gary Macy, The Hidden History of Women's Ordination)
We are a growing movement of pioneers with enthusiastic supporters and communities who are living prophetic obedience to the Spirit and offering a viable model of gender justice within the Catholic Church in the 21st century. Come and See! Yes, indeed, a woman's place is in the Catholic Church!

Bridget Mary Meehan

Pope Promises Action Against Clerical Sex Abuse/Associated Press/Victims Call for Removal of Bishops Who Shielded Abusers

Pope promises action against clerical sex abuse
Associated Press Writer
"I shared with them their suffering, and emotionally prayed with them, assuring them of church action," Benedict said.
"Neither Benedict nor the Vatican has elaborated on what action or measures are being considered"...
"...Victims advocates have demanded the Vatican take stronger action and remove the bishops who shielded known abusers, shuffling them around from diocese to diocese rather than reporting them to police"...
"Three Irish government-ordered investigations published from 2005 to 2009 have documented how thousands of Irish children suffered rape, molestation and other abuse by priests in their parishes and by nuns and brothers in boarding schools and orphanages. Irish bishops did not report a single case to police until 1996 after victims began to sue the church."
Associated Press writer Shawn Pogatchnik contributed to this report from Dublin.
It is time for the Pope to state clearly that he and his brother bishops are accountable for their failures in the sex abuse crisis. Otherwise, this global sex abuse crisis will continue to erupt like a volcano spewing destruction in its path. Unless there is structural change,beginning with a truth commission, and changes such as the end of mandatory celibacy, married priests and women priests, the following actions by the institutional church will not heal the gaping wound that has destroyed the hierarchy's moral credibility and devastated thousands of lives of innocent victims of sexual abuse. The people of God have been betrayed by the hierarchy and the Vatican. The first step is admitting the magnitude of the problem and taking responsibility for its devastating consequences. All Catholics are responsible for reformng our church because we are the church.
Roman Catholic Womenpriests are working to transform the hierarchical model and create a partnership model in inclusive communiities with people wth whom we serve. Bridget Mary Meehan

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Church Pedophile Scandal Grows in Latin America

SAO PAULO – The detention of an 83-year-old priest in Brazil for allegedly abusing boys as young as 12 has added to the scandals hitting the Roman Catholic Church in Latin America, even as Chile's bishops asked pardon Tuesday for past cases.

The allegations against Monsignor Luiz Marques Barbosa — and two other Brazilian priests — have made headlines throughout the world's most populous Catholic nation and come amid accusations of sexual abuse by priests around the world.

Update on Partner Priest, Lee Breyer, Who Serves Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

(Carol Ann, Lee, and Bridget Mary, from left to right)
Dad and I just returned from Manatee Hospital. We had lunch with Carol Ann Breyer. I was able to see Lee and pray with him for a few minutes. I assured Lee that he was not alone that all of us were with him, surrounding him with our loving prayers and support. His lung is healing and there is no kidney damage. Thank God!
The next step we are looking forward to is the removal of tube in his lung. They plan to give him a little food tomorrow.
Carol Ann is very strong and appreciates our loving, prayerful support too.
If you wish to send a card, please send it to this address.
Mercy on the Manatee
505 Palm Ave
Ellenton, FL. 34222
Home Phone 941-721-3486
Please only email with urgent messages at Carol Anne's request:
Bridget Mary

Good Shepherd Ministry: A Report from Judy Lee, a Roman Catholic Womanpriest, of Service to Homeless in Ft. Myers, Florida

April GSM Ministry Report: 3/2/10-4/20/10
“You have turned my mourning into dancing” says Psalm 30:11, and these seven weeks have borne witness to this Psalm. We have experienced the mourning that comes when one who has done well with us in Joshua House stumbles and falls back into substance abuse and takes others with him, causing us to question whether our program without a live-in supervisor is a philosophy that really works. And we have experienced mourning for our two Board members, Stella and Doreen who are very ill, and the loss of a strong supporter, Joyce Pinney, an elder from Lamb of God who died and had the kindness to ask that her Memorial gifts be shared with this ministry. Yet, we have experienced the joys of some returning to our ministry who seemed to have been lost. We also stood beside one of our men, Shannon as he faced a cancer diagnosis and the successful removal of a cancerous kidney. Even as he went through this, he finally got into his first home with Goodwill housing and his SSI was finally approved-mourning into joy. And the joys of the faithfulness of a few others, like Mr. Gary who is now joining our Board and who sticks with us no matter what! And, there is Brenda who gets a ride here from Port Charlotte, and Tom who set out from North Fort Myers on a Sunday to bike to church and had a flat tire. Although he was not very far from his new home, he decided to walk the whole way here, a distance of 6-7 miles. He did this in thankfulness for his home. This was the same Sunday morning that our Joshua House resident caused a great deal of trouble-and it lifted my heart. A month later, we had the joy of baptizing a Grandmother and two of her grandchildren. She brings ten of her grandchildren with her to church and there are the seeds of our children’s program. And, finally, through our help, our Mother without legal status was approved for her Green card(permit to work here) and got it, changing everything for herself and her family. Weeping at night-Joy in the morning-mourning into dancing…and so it is with our ministry.
Tuesday Services
Since January we have served over 303 meals on Tuesdays, most frequently provided by Lamb of God volunteers, thanks to Sally Patterson’s careful coordination. This does NOT count seconds and those are usual. (On Sundays we have served over 414 meals bringing our total to over 717 meals in less than four months). Additionally we have provided weekly and biweekly food, including meat and staples, for three large families and many individuals.
Seven of our people had their SSI, SSDI or Social Security approved since January, five during the period of this report. Three others were guided through the process of applying and documenting. Four who were denied were referred to a lawyer that we trust and one of those, Shannon, just got his funds. Three got into Goodwill Housing in April, and three have been involved in the second step for Royal Palm Senior Housing. Nine began mental health services through Vista and many have begun to use the health care system to manage serious illnesses. Two families were rescued from losing their housing, and many were given the help they needed to maintain health and housing.
Joshua House
Joshua House has now accepted its seventeenth resident, an older gentleman, Ken, 61, who awaits senior housing. He has very serious illnesses that he is also attending to as he lives with us. He will attend AA meetings at least once a week and his remaining with us is contingent upon daily sobriety. He is helpful and generous to others with rides in his truck and local transporting. We are hopeful as he has entered the final stage of acceptance to Royal Palm and is also willing to accept any of GWI’s Housing sites. We have one bed available and have three on the waiting list that we are considering.
Five of our formerly homeless people are maintaining subsidized housing but have zero income as neither a job nor Disability income has come through for them. We have been helping them financially and with paper goods, etc. but on an as needed basis. We are hoping to find a way to give each a small regular stipend so they have some pocket money until they have an income. Their situations are very stressful to them.
We also hope to develop a time-limited summer program for children/youth, perhaps providing some small stipend to mothers and youth who can help us with this program.
We are thankful for our faithful Board members and for all of the volunteers and supporters, near and far who help us turn mourning into joy and dancing with the love of community.
Respectfully Submitted,

Pastor Judy Lee

Rescue Catholicism from Vatican: Live Renewal Now

"...An example of what must happen now came from the American nuns who recently defied the Rome-obsessed bishops to support President Obama’s health reform bill. The nuns acted as if the reforms of Vatican II are real. Now priests and lay people must do the same, rescuing the Catholic Church from its fundamentalists, including the present pope."

Brdget Mary's Reflection
Yes, indeed, thank you James Carroll. Catholics must act as if renewal is a reality now. That is precisely what Roman Catholic Womenpriests and our partner priests united with the people we serve in a community of equals is doing in grassroots. Come and see vibrant, renewed, Christ-cenetered grassroots communities, like Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community, that welcomes all to celebrate Eucharist. Check out our website for liturgies all around the U.S. where womenpriests serve.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Pray for Lee Breyer, who was in a Serious Auto Accident/ Priest Partner, from Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

Carol Ann and Lee Breyer and Bridget Mary Meehan (left to right)

In second picture, Lee Breyer, is standing sharing a joke with Michael Rigdon, and Bridget Mary before liturgy at MMOJ.

We ask your prayers for Lee Breyer, one of our priest partners, who was in a serious auto accident this weekend. Let us surround Lee and Carol Ann, his wife, with our loving prayers and call on God to hold them both in the Healing Embrace of Infinite Love and love them beyond all imagination and provide for all their needs during this time of great suffering. Lee is intensive care in Manatee Hospital in Florida.
Both Lee and Michael are priest partners serving with Bridget Mary Meehan the Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

Bishop Urges EU Leaders to Criticize Vatican 'stupidity'/by Andrew Rettman

Bishop urges EU leaders to criticise Vatican 'stupidity'

EUOBSERVER / BRUSSELS - A Roman Catholic bishop has called on EU leaders who are Christians to speak out against the Vatican if it makes "stupid" remarks, such as a recent declaration that homosexuality causes paedophilia.

In an interview with EUobserver on Friday (16 April), Peter Moran, the Bishop of Aberdeen in Scotland, said the church's cover up of child abuse in Ireland 40 years ago was facilitated by "an exaggerated deference toward the clergy."

"I would not like to think that there is any exaggerated deference by Christian leaders in Europe toward the church authorities today. To put it very simply, if the church says something that is wrong or stupid, even Christian leaders should have the courage to say: 'No. I disagree with that. You are wrong. That was a stupid thing to say'."...

Munich Vicar General Reportedly Says He Was Forced to Take the Fall for Cardinal Ratzinger/National Catholic Reporter

Munich vicar general reportedly says he was forced to take the fall for Cardinal Ratzinger

"Vicar General Gerhard Gruber last month referred to the decision as a “serious mistake” and said he was solely responsible for the decision. After speaking once about his "mistake" to the Associated Press, Gruber disappeared from public view. I was in Munich at the time and tried to reach him several times, but always unsuccessfully....

But today we find Gruber in the news once again...

It is being reported that Gruber has said he took the fall only after coming under huge pressure from unnamed Catholic Church sources to take responsibility in order to “take the pope out of the firing line”..."

Tearful Pope Says Church Will Better Protect the Young/Associated Press
Associated Press Writer

VALLETTA, Malta (AP) --
"With tears in his eyes, Pope Benedict XVI made his most personal gesture yet to respond to the clerical sex abuse scandal Sunday, telling victims the church will do everything possible to protect children and bring abusive priests to justice, the Vatican"...

"Victims' advocacy groups have demanded that the Vatican take concrete steps to protect children and remove abusive priests and the bishops who protected them, saying the pope's expressions to date of solidarity and shame were meaningless unless actual action is taken."

My Response: Unless Pope Benedict embraces the following structural changes: married priests and women priests, the removal of bishops who kept pedophile priests in ministry,transparent processes that involve the people of God in decision-making roles like monitoring sex abuse policies on local, national and Vatican levels, his expressions of sorrow, while heart-wrenching and sincere, will not resolve the root cause of hierarchical abuse of power that is at the heart of this crisis.
Brdget Mary Meehan

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"A Church Mary Can Love" by Nicholas D. Kristof/ Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community

Carol Ann Breyer, Lee Breyer (married priest couple) Bridget Mary Meehan, Roman Catholic Womanbishop, Michael and Imogene Rigdon, marred priest couple
Lee, Michael and Bridget Mary are partner priests who serve Mary Mother of Jesus Inclusive Catholic Community in Sarasota, Florida. Roman Catholic Womenpriests are working to develop a renewed model of priestly ministry that is egalitarian and reflects justice, equality and partnership with the people with whom we serve.

"It wasn’t inevitable that the Catholic Church would grow so addicted to male domination, celibacy and rigid hierarchies. Jesus himself focused on the needy rather than dogma, and went out of his way to engage women and treat them with respect..."

"The first-century church was inclusive and democratic, even including a proto-feminist wing and texts. The Gospel of Philip, a Gnostic text from the third century, declares of Mary Magdalene: “She is the one the Savior loved more than all the disciples.” Likewise, the Gospel of Mary (from the early second century) suggests that Jesus entrusted Mary Magdalene to instruct the disciples on his religious teachings..."