Daily Archives: February 19, 2012


I read the news today Oh Prunella!

“VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI created 22 new cardinals on Saturday, including two Americans — Timothy Dolan, who heads the archdiocese of New York, and Edward O’Brien, the outgoing archbishop of Baltimore — in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica at which the pope increasingly turned to Italians and Vatican officials to lead a global church.
Pope Benedict received the cardinals-designate from his throne under a soaring dome designed by Michelangelo, as one by one they knelt before the 84-year-old pope and received the red silk square-ridged hats, called birettas, that signify princes of the church.”

How festive.


“With Saturday’s ceremony, there are now 125 cardinals under the age of 80, and thus eligible to vote for the next pope. More than half of the cardinal-electors are now Italians and other Europeans, strengthening the Western voice at the church’s highest levels even as the rank and file grows most rapidly in the global south.
Only three of the new cardinals hailed from the developing world: Brazil, India and Hong Kong.
One reason for the shift toward European cardinals may be that Pope Benedict, a native of Germany who worked for much of his career at the Vatican, has been highly concerned about, and focused on, the decline of Roman Catholicism in Europe, according to the Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.”

A”decline in Europe”? Now why should that be?

(crickets churping)

“Rev. Reese said the high number of Italian cardinals might also reflect the influence of high-ranking Italians in Pope Benedict’s administration, including the Vatican’s powerful secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
“There have already been two non-Italian popes in a row, and they may not want there to be a third,” Rev. Reese said.
According to an analysis by Rev. Reese, the percentage of Italians in the College of Cardinals has risen to 24 percent, from 16 percent, during Pope Benedict’s tenure.
Cardinal Dolan, a well-known figure at the Vatican because he spent years running an American seminary in Rome, said the emphasis on the countries from which cardinals came was misplaced.
“On the surface, this is giving some people pause, to say wait a minute, what about that beautiful noble ideal of the Second Vatican Council to internationalize the leadership of the church,” Cardinal Dolan said. “I would say that, in this pope’s mind, an openness to the universality of the church and a celebration of the diversity of the church does not depend upon one’s passport.”
More important, Cardinal Dolan said, are the strengths of the men tapped to lead the church.
“It’s sort of like a quality you have,” he said. “He would be convinced that even though, nationality-wise, there are a good number of Italians here, these would be men that he’s chosen because they have a particular sensitivity to the pastoral needs of the wider church.”

“Cardinal Dolan, a 62-year-old Missouri native who has led the archdiocese of New York since 2009, was one of two Americans elevated to cardinal at the consistory; the other was Cardinal O’Brien, 73, who was born in New York, served as archbishop of Baltimore and now heads the church’s Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre.
Cardinal Dolan previously served as auxiliary bishop of St. Louis and as archbishop of Milwaukee. In addition to serving as archbishop of New York, he is the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Cardinal Dolan will return to the United States on Tuesday and find his own political maelstrom back home, as the bishops continue to battle the Obama administration’s plan to require birth control coverage for employees of some religious institutions, including Catholic universities, social service organizations and hospitals.”

Oh you’ve been a sinner alright

Here’s the full 60 Minutes interview

And here are more details about Dolan’s crimes.

“A lawyer for victims of sexual abuse by priests says he plans to seek depositions from Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan and other church officials over the lawyer’s accusations that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee, while Archbishop Dolan was its leader, moved $130 million off its books to avoid paying abuse claims.
The lawyer, Jeffrey R. Anderson, who represents clients in 23 lawsuits against the Milwaukee Archdiocese, said $75 million disappeared from the church’s investments in 2005. He said that $55 million more that had previously been unaccounted for appeared in a cemetery trust in 2008, and that the archdiocese claimed that money in that fund was protected by state law and could not be used for payouts.
In an interview on Sunday, Mr. Anderson said that the first transfer coincided with a 2005 ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court that allowed abuse lawsuits to proceed despite a statute of limitations. He said the second transfer occurred around the time of a similar ruling in 2007. Archbishop Dolan led the Archdiocese of Milwaukee from 2002 to 2009, when he was chosen to lead the Archdiocese of New York.
Mr. Anderson’s accusations were first reported by The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Joseph Zwilling, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York, strongly denied Mr. Anderson’s assertion that Archbishop Dolan had moved money to shield the church from liability. “The suggestion that anything was hidden is ridiculous,” Mr. Zwilling said on Sunday. “It is not true.”
He said the archbishop would participate in any official inquiry into wrongdoing, but called Mr. Anderson’s plans for a deposition “hypothetical at this point.”
Mr. Anderson, who is involved in suits against church divisions around the country, said he based his claims on a review of church financial statements.
In January, the Milwaukee Archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, in part to settle lawsuits by victims of sexual abuse. As part of the bankruptcy process, the archdiocese filed an account of its assets and liabilities. Mr. Anderson said he compared that filing with yearly financial statements and found discrepancies, which he called “suggestive of chicanery and perhaps financial fraud.”
A spokeswoman for the Milwaukee Archdiocese, Julie Wolf, said it had never moved assets as a response to litigation. She said the $75 million was money that the archdiocese once handled for its parishes but later turned back to the parishes. The cemetery fund, she said, came from an informal trust that the archdiocese had overseen since the early 1900s. She added that the trust was formalized in 2007. “

a fortiori

Sealed documents filed in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee bankruptcy identify at least 8,000 instances of child sexual abuse and 100 alleged offenders – 75 of them priests – who have not previously been named by the archdiocese, a victims’ attorney said Thursday.
Archdiocese spokeswoman Julie Wolf said she did not have enough information to respond to the assertion, made by attorney Jeffrey Anderson during a pivotal hearing before U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Susan V. Kelley. Anderson represents about 350 of the 570 victim-survivors who have filed claims in the case.
But Peter Isely of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests speculated that some are likely members of religious orders, such as Capuchins or Franciscans. Order officials do not typically make public the names of their accused members, and the archdiocese claims it is not responsible for them, though they have historically helped to staff its parishes and schools.
“This is a public safety crisis, a child safety crisis that needs to be investigated,” Isely said at a news conference on the federal courthouse steps, surrounded by fellow survivors and reporters.
“We need to know who they are and where they are. How can there be 8,000 crimes committed by over 100 offenders and there be no accountability?” he said.”

“Kelley let stand, at least for now, two survivors’ claims that the church had sought to bar, arguing they were beyond the statute of limitations.
In the split decision, Kelley also granted the church’s motion for summary judgment, effectively dismissing a third claim in which a victim had signed a prior settlement agreement with the church.”

How clever of them.

“In an emotional preamble to her ruling, before a packed courtroom, Kelley expressed a reverence for the Catholic Church and compassion for the victims, saying she was “brought to tears more than once” reading the accounts of the men and women who allege they were sexually abused as children by priests, deacons, nuns, teachers and others over the past 60 years.
“But I cannot let compassion be the basis for my decision. It must be governed by law,” Kelley said.”

Compassion for whom? Certainly not for the victims.

“Archdiocese attorney Frank LoCoco acknowledged the gravity of the allegations at the outset of the hearing.
“This will be the most difficult professional decision you will ever make,” LoCoco told Kelley.
Kelley made it clear that her rulings applied to the three individual cases at hand, not broad classes of claims they may represent. Allowing the two claims to stand doesn’t guarantee they will be paid in the bankruptcy, only that the legal debate over when the statute of limitations begins ticking must be decided at trial.
The archdiocese had sought the dismissal of three claims involving two priests and a parish choir director who were accused of molesting boys in the 1970s and ’80s. Church lawyers argued that the cases were beyond the statute of limitations and involved a victim who signed a previous settlement agreement and a perpetrator – the choir director – who was not a direct employee.”

“Victims’ attorneys had characterized the church’s objections as a test case that, if successful, would have eliminated 95% of the claims in the bankruptcy.
Kelly disallowed the claim involving the prior settlement because the victim didn’t meet all of the criteria for voiding a signed agreement.
Much of the debate Thursday centered on how to apply the state’s six-year statute of limitations on fraud allegations. LoCoco argued that the clock began ticking at the latest in 2004, when the archdiocese posted its online list of 44 priests with substantiated allegations of abuse.
Anderson said the victims didn’t know they were defrauded until 2006 and 2009, when they learned, in some cases through documents released as part of a California settlement, that the archdiocese had lied to them about their abusers’ histories.
“When a few did go forward and asked questions, what were they told? Lies,” Anderson said.”

“Anderson raised the issue of the 100 additional accused offenders, culled from his own clients’ claims, as part of his defense of the claims.
The archdiocese has said that it turns over all new claims of allegations involving living priests to the appropriate district attorney’s office, though it is not clear whether that includes religious order priests and others it doesn’t consider its employees.
The victims were not identified in court or in the documents filed on the issues raised Thursday. The claims of all but about 30 victim-survivors are filed under seal as part of a court order intended to protect the identities of any victim seeking anonymity.
The three cases at issue Thursday involved:
The now-defrocked Father Franklyn Becker, who had served as pastor at Holy Family Parish in Whitefish Bay. The victim alleges Becker abused him between 1972 and ’74, when the victim was 13 to 16 years old.
Father David Hanser, also since laicized, who is accused of molesting a 7-year-old boy in 1977-’78 when he was associate pastor at St. John Vianney Parish in Brookfield.
Robert Schaefer, then-choir director at St. Catherine Parish in Milwaukee. Schaefer is accused of repeatedly molesting a boy from 1976 to 1982, beginning when the boy was about 10 years old.
Becker and Hanser have well-established histories as serial sex offenders; both were laicized by the archdiocese and appear on its list of offender priests. At least one other man has accused Schaefer of abusing him as a teenager. Schaefer is not listed on the archdiocese’s website”

So you can imagine how pleased the Chuirch was when it got the opportunity to change the subject by whining about contraception for its employees health care coverage. President Obam scotched all this of course.

And here’s why it was so easy for him to do so “politically.”

“Despite the deep divide between some religious leaders and government officials over contraceptives, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll found most voters support the new federal directive that health insurance plans provide coverage for birth control.
In addition, most voters said they favored some type of legal recognition for same-sex couples, at a time when the New Jersey Legislature is set to vote on gay marriage and after a federal appellate court ruled that Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage in California was unconstitutional.
While same-sex marriage and coverage for contraceptives have generated significant debate this month, the poll suggests that voters do not place social issues high on their agenda. When asked to name one issue that presidential candidates should discuss, most voters, including Republicans who described themselves as primary voters, mentioned an economic problem, like unemployment or the budget deficit. Few said they wanted to hear the candidates talk about abortion or gay marriage, for example.
On contraceptive coverage, 65 percent of voters in the poll said they supported the Obama administration’s requirement that health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control, and 59 percent, said the health insurance plans of religiously affiliated employers should cover the cost of birth control.
In a compromise last week, President Obama said insurance companies could shoulder the costs required under the new federal health care law, but the Conference of Catholic Bishops and other religious leaders continue to oppose the rule.
A majority of Catholic voters in the poll were at odds with the church’s official stance, agreeing with most other voters that religiously affiliated employers should offer health insurance that provides contraception. Jennifer Davison, 38, a Catholic from Lomita, Calif., agrees with the federal requirement. “My opinion is that it is a personal issue rather than a religious issue,” she said in a follow-up interview.
Unlike Catholics, white evangelical Christian voters were more divided, with half objecting to requiring the health insurance plans of religious employers to cover contraceptives; 43 percent supported it. “It is a religious issue with me,” said Jessica Isner, 22, an evangelical Christian from Elkins, W. Va. “I believe that providing birth control is O.K. if the hospital is not religiously affiliated.”
Gay marriage is another debate in which the Catholic laity disagrees with church doctrine. More than two-thirds of Catholic voters supported some sort of legal recognition of gay couples’ relationships: 44 percent favored marriage, and 25 percent preferred civil unions. Twenty-four percent said gay couples should receive no legal recognition.
Again, white evangelical Christian voters expressed more conservative views. A majority said there should not be legal recognition of a gay relationship, while 18 percent said they should be allowed to marry and 25 percent supported civil unions.
The nationwide telephone poll included 1,064 registered voters, of whom 226 were Catholic and 238 were white evangelical Christians. The margins of sampling error are plus or minus three percentage points for all voters, plus or minus seven points for Catholics, and plus or minus six points for white evangelical Christians.”

If you want know more about the Church’s history of sexual criminality here you go.

Shall we get to the Bottom line?


Happily money can’t buy everything and the Church’s authority is rapidly waning.

Though it does have its defenders

Ah the Red-Caped Loons. Aren’t they a caution?

Winni Shaw and Judy Canova will sing us out