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Author Topic: Another day in the life of the evil one's helpers  (Read 3182 times) Average Rating: 0
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TomS
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« on: October 12, 2005, 10:47:28 AM »

October 12, 2005
Los Angeles Files Recount Decades of Priests' Abuse
By JOHN M. BRODER

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11 - The confidential personnel files of 126 clergymen in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles accused of sexual misconduct with children provide a numbing chronicle of 75 years of the church's shame, revealing case after case in which the church was warned of abuse but failed to protect its parishioners.

In some cases, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony and his predecessors quietly shuffled the priests off to counseling and then to new assignments. In others, parents were offered counseling for their children and were urged to remain silent.


Throughout the files, cases of child molesting or rape are dealt with by indirection or euphemism, with references to questions of "moral fitness" or accusations of "boundary violations." For years, anonymous complaints of abuse were ignored and priests were given the benefit of every doubt.

The personnel files - some of which date from the 1930's - were produced as part of settlement talks with lawyers for 560 accusers in a civil suit here. The church provided them to The New York Times in advance of their public release in the next few days. The archdiocese is releasing them in part to make good on a promise to parishioners to come clean about the church's actions in the scandal, church officials said. It also hopes that the release will spur settlement talks, which appear to have stalled in recent months.

Raymond P. Boucher, the lead lawyer for those suing the church, said the versions of the files released by the church were cleansed of much of the damaging details of the accusations and the church's response. Their release was chiefly a public relations move by the church as both sides prepared for the first cases to go to trial, Mr. Boucher said.

"Unfortunately, these files do not contain the full story of the participation by the church in the manipulation and movement of these priests," he said. "The full files would show how deep and pervasive this problem was and how much the church put its own interests ahead of those of the children and others who were molested by the priests. That is a broader and deeper story."

The files reveal that only recently did the church come to grips with the abusive and criminal behavior in its ranks and act aggressively to contain it.

The Los Angeles cases are in many ways typical of the sexual abuse claims that have stained the church around the country in recent years. The behavior of priests in Southern California was no worse than that seen elsewhere, and the response of senior church officials was generally no better. But the sheer scope of the claims and the potential for a huge payout to victims sets Los Angeles apart from archdioceses in other major American cities.

Perhaps the most egregious case here concerns the Rev. Michael Baker, who voluntarily revealed in 1986 to then-Archbishop Mahony a sexual relationship with two young boys from 1978 to 1985. Archbishop Mahony did not report the abuse to the police, but rather sent Father Baker for counseling and prohibited him from having any close contact with minors, the documents show. But he was soon assigned to parishes where he found it easy to prey on young boys again. After several more unsuccessful efforts at therapy, Father Baker was finally removed from the priesthood in 2000, but only after it was learned that he had molested as many as 10 victims over the previous 20 years.

There are many cases in which the accusations were not made until years after the alleged incidents and some in which early complaints were not deemed credible. But in all, the files paint a portrait of an institution in denial about what now looks like widespread sexual misconduct.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles is the nation's largest Roman Catholic diocese, covering 8,700 square miles and serving nearly five million Catholics. The size of the priestly abuse problem here rivals that in Boston, where more than 500 members of the clergy were accused of abusing children over the past 60 years and where the church paid $85 million in 2003 to settle civil claims against it.

Since then, the stakes have risen. Late last year, the Diocese of Orange County in California paid $100 million to settle 85 cases.

Lawyers involved in negotiations in Los Angeles said that if an overall settlement was reached between the 560 plaintiffs and the church, the payout would be significantly higher than in Boston or Orange County, perhaps exceeding $500 million. The cost of litigating each case individually could rise far beyond that.

Since 1985, the archdiocese has settled a handful of child molesting cases, paying a total of $10 million.

The archdiocese received relatively few complaints of sexual abuse by priests, no more than a couple dozen a year, until 2002, when the church scandal exploded with news reports from Boston. Since then, the Los Angeles Archdiocese has received hundreds of complaints against more than 250 priests and other church workers, of whom roughly half are now included in settlement talks.

The documents will be posted within a day or two on the archdiocese Web site (www.la-archdiocese.org) or on a site kept by the church's lawyers (www.la-clergycases.com), said J. Michael Hennigan, lead lawyer for the archdiocese.

Mr. Hennigan said the priest files, even though they do not contain a lot of detail about the alleged offenses, would provide the public with a better sense of how the church's response to such charges has evolved.

"We wanted to show what happened, when it happened, what we knew and how we dealt with it," Mr. Hennigan said.

In the case of the Rev. Kevin Barmasse, parents of a young boy wrote to top officials of the archdiocese in 1983 to complain that the priest had abused their son at St. Pancratius Church in Lakewood, Calif., a suburb of Los Angeles. Two weeks later, the archdiocese sent Father Barmasse to serve as associate pastor at a parish in the Diocese of Tucson, on the condition that he receive therapy.

Within three years, according to later reports, he made sexual advances toward several male high school students. In 1992, he was stripped of his priestly duties.

Mr. Hennigan said Father Barmasse was one of very few priests that the Los Angeles Archdiocese allowed to move to another parish and continue ministering to children after a credible complaint had been received. He said Cardinal Mahony's inclination to trust in therapy was typical of the church response at the time.

For years, the church treated sexual abuse by members of the clergy as a moral failing and a sin that could be confessed and forgiven. It is only within the last 15 years or so that church officials recognized that pedophiles are by nature repeat offenders and cannot be permitted unsupervised contact with children, Mr. Hennigan said.

He contrasted the behavior of church officials here to that of officials in Boston, who repeatedly shuffled sexual predators from parish to parish with no warning to the public. Such incidents, including the notorious cases of the former priests John J. Geoghan and Paul R. Shanley, led to the reassignment of Cardinal Bernard F. Law of Boston and forced the closings of dozens of parishes and Catholic schools to pay damage awards.

Despite a number of well-publicized abuse cases here, Cardinal Mahony has remained the leader of the archdiocese and the Los Angeles church appears to be on fairly sound financial footing. Mr. Hennigan said he believed the archdiocese has sufficient resources and insurance to handle settlements without closing schools or selling church property.

Lawyers for the accused priests tried to keep the personnel files secret, saying that their release violates employee record confidentiality laws and that the information in them will prejudice the courts and the public against their clients.

The church, while arguing that some material from the files is protected by priest-penitent or psychotherapist-patient privilege, said it wanted to release the majority of the contents as part of a process of expiation. The material has been in the hands of plaintiffs' lawyers for nearly three years, but courts have ordered it sealed. The church interprets a court ruling last month as allowing it to release edited versions of the personnel files. The files do not include accusers' names.

"What the church is trying to do is repair the damage that was done and make sure, as much as is humanly possible, that it doesn't happen again," said Tod Tamberg, a spokesman for the archdiocese. "This whole sad chapter in the church's life is an opportunity for purification."


« Last Edit: October 12, 2005, 10:49:21 AM by TomS » Logged
Stamfordguy
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2005, 11:15:57 AM »

A site for victims of abuse in the Orthodox Church:

http://www.pokrov.org/

Our closets have plenty of skeletons too. Abuse is not something exclusive to one Church.  Sad
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TomS
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2005, 11:31:11 AM »

What makes the RCC EVIL is not that the abuses occured, but that the Archdiocese KNEW of the problem at teh highest levels and did nothing to protect the innocents.
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2005, 11:34:52 AM »

A site for victims of abuse in the Orthodox Church:

http://www.pokrov.org/

Our closets have plenty of skeletons too. Abuse is not something exclusive to one Church.ÂÂ  Sad

Stamfordguy,
Yes, but keep in mind that pokrov.org is as altruistic as it purports to be.  The owners have an agenda that is clearly more than necessary and definite unhealthy. ÂÂ
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2005, 11:48:22 AM »

So which is worse, Pokrov's wide net, or those swallow hook-line-and-sinker and then repeat what is said on Pokrov unthinkingly (as the above poster did, cut-and-pasting information that included not only problems with sexual abuse, but other forms of abuse and racism, and some of the words on sexual abuse are VERY misleading if you actually go deeper into the story)?
« Last Edit: October 12, 2005, 11:49:32 AM by Asteriktos » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2005, 12:19:04 PM »

lol...you're kidding, right? Swallow...hook-line-sinker? Uh... these are facts (whether you want to recognize them or not is your problem, not mine) that can be affirmed by going to the news articles provided at the site. What you need to recognize is this very simple fact: the Church has its own skeletons too. Tom is obsessedwith the Roman Catholic Church... the Great Whore of Babylon as far as he is concerned.  I say obsessed because his posting behavior here indicates such. What possible good can come from posting this sort of trash on such a regular basis? I simply wanted to show him that the same evils are EVERYWHERE. Uh huh... including a number of our monasteries.. where in North America or Greece. Have you ever looked at the Antiochian Word magazine and seen S0-and-SO has been released from....? I know in a number of instances that the reason the priest was released was NOT to serve in another jurisdiction but for sexual misconduct. AND... some of that had been known for some time before anything was done about it. Thankfully things are being cleaned up a bit more readily these days (i.e. Bp Demetrios, formerly auxiliary bishop in the Antiochian archdiocese).

I'm going to go back and delete my earlier post but I'll leave the link.

It seems to me that we need to stop bashing other churches, roll up our collective sleeves and clean up in our own backyard.
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2005, 12:25:25 PM »

the Great Whore of Babylon as far as he is concerned.ÂÂ

I can't deny!

... including a number of our monasteries

DUH! I have LONG maintained that anything that requires celibacy draws sexually dysfunctional screwed up people.

The RCC could easily help loosen the grip of the evil one by getting rid of this celibate requirement.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2005, 01:24:57 PM by TomS » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2005, 01:56:15 PM »

lol...you're kidding, right? Swallow...hook-line-sinker? Uh... these are facts (whether you want to recognize them or not is your problem, not mine) that can be affirmed by going to the news articles provided at the site. What you need to recognize is this very simple fact: the Church has its own skeletons too. Tom is obsessedwith the Roman Catholic Church... the Great Whore of Babylon as far as he is concerned.ÂÂ  I say obsessed because his posting behavior here indicates such. What possible good can come from posting this sort of trash on such a regular basis? I simply wanted to show him that the same evils are EVERYWHERE. Uh huh... including a number of our monasteries.. where in North America or Greece. Have you ever looked at the Antiochian Word magazine and seen S0-and-SO has been released from....? I know in a number of instances that the reason the priest was released was NOT to serve in another jurisdiction but for sexual misconduct. AND... some of that had been known for some time before anything was done about it. Thankfully things are being cleaned up a bit more readily these days (i.e. Bp Demetrios, formerly auxiliary bishop in the Antiochian archdiocese).

I'm going to go back and delete my earlier post but I'll leave the link.

It seems to me that we need to stop bashing other churches, roll up our collective sleeves and clean up in our own backyard.

Stamford,
The OCA newsletter (The Orthodox Church) shows releases, depositions, ordinations, etc. as well - all dioceses should do this.  Also, you seem to accept News clippings as inherent fact - as if the press always knows the full story, proper context, most accurate way to explain things, etc.  Yes, we have our problems, but as Asteriktos said, a lot of the words are misleading.
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2005, 05:19:47 PM »

I must ask a question here and I only pray that it will not be taken the wrong way.  Tom, what is the point in posting another Churchs' sins out in plain view on an Orthodox forum where inquirerers, converts and others have full access?  Is there a reason to judge other churches for their sins that even our own church seems to have troubles with, yes, the RCC has problems with their celibate priests commiting sexual acts, and yes, it is wrong, but we should not hate them and judge them, we should leave that to their superiors, and pray for them to see their mistake and change.  If we want to do anything, instead of airing their dirty laundry, we should work on our own sins first.  I am guilty of judging others as well...I only hope that we all can resolve our problems and look at ourselves before we judge our brothers anymore.  We need to listen to what it says in the Bible... "Judge not, lest ye be judged...." then it also says that we should not try to remove a splinter from our brothers' eye when there's a plank in our own eye, we must remove the plank so we can see clearly to remove the splinter. 

Please forgive me if I have judged others without reason, and for offending anyone here as well. 
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2005, 06:43:04 PM »



DUH! I have LONG maintained that anything that requires celibacy draws sexually dysfunctional screwed up people.


So you even think Monasticism, since it requires celibacy, is bad?  Boy, that's sad.  Maybe you should go to a Monastery, because there are many holy men in them. 
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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2005, 07:31:24 PM »

So you even think Monasticism, since it requires celibacy, is bad?ÂÂ  Boy, that's sad.ÂÂ  Maybe you should go to a Monastery, because there are many holy men in them.ÂÂ  

You have to read what Tom is saying carefully.  He is not saying Monasticism per se is bad. He is saying it tends to draw sexually dysfunctional (and other types of dysfunctional) people. This is a reality--most people are not fit for a monastic life and many people that can't make it in the real world try to go to monasteries as an escape (read the Ladder of Divine Ascent, step 3 where there is a discussion of people becoming monks for the wrong reason--I think this shows clearly that our holy fathers recognized that not all reasons to become monks are good!)

That's why there is a 3 year novitiate--to make sure the prospective monk is not crazy and can handle a monastic life.

Now if Tom were to reply to my post and say that all monks are sexually screwed up, I'd have to disagree vehemently.

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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2005, 07:58:18 PM »

I must ask a question here and I only pray that it will not be taken the wrong way.  Tom, what is the point in posting another Churchs' sins out in plain view on an Orthodox forum where inquirerers, converts and others have full access?  Is there a reason to judge other churches for their sins ...


Amen! That is precisely my point. Why this constant Catholic bashing? What possible good does this do, other than to show what an unloving person this poster is? There are many, many Catholics who have lived sacrificial lives... in fact, lives that were literally burned out in the service of our Lord. And yet this person damns them day after day and apparently without much censure. He brings shame upon himself and upon this forum with these unloving, condemnatory posts.
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« Reply #12 on: October 12, 2005, 07:58:30 PM »

[quote author=à ¤“à ¤¨à ¤¾à ¤¸à ¥à ¤Ÿà ¤¾à ¤¸à ¤¿à ¤¯à ¥‹à ¤¸ link=topic=7352.msg95834#msg95834 date=1129159884]
You have to read what Tom is saying carefully.ÂÂ  He is not saying Monasticism per se is bad. He is saying it tends to draw sexually dysfunctional (and other types of dysfunctional) people. [/quote]

Yes, that is what I meant. Only a miniscule number of humans are able to transcend their sexual urges peacefully.

And yet this person damns them day after day and apparently without much censure. He brings shame upon himself and upon this forum with these unloving, condemnatory posts.

I damn the institution.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2005, 08:01:02 PM by TomS » Logged
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« Reply #13 on: October 12, 2005, 09:50:04 PM »

Stamford

I had spent 20 minutes writing a post, but I think I'll erase it and say the only thing that counts: I'm glad you decided to take down what you had posted in this thread.
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« Reply #14 on: October 12, 2005, 10:44:21 PM »


I damn the institution.

You foolish, foolish man. YOU do not have the authority to damn anyone! In effect what you are doing is bringing condemnation upon yourself. Sad
« Last Edit: October 12, 2005, 10:50:26 PM by Stamfordguy » Logged
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« Reply #15 on: October 12, 2005, 10:51:33 PM »

I think we all know what Tom meant; the Catholic Church as an institution has a problem.  Forced clerical celibacy is response for two larger problems that have created the high level of problems with Catholic clergy 1) a false dichotmy between clergy and laity and 2) normal men being driven to problems by forcing themselves to live a lifestyle unnatural to them and 3) the attraction of less quality individuals to clergy. 
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« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2005, 12:02:35 AM »

I my opinion it is best to judge Tom by what comes out of his mouth. No one is privy to the intents and thoughts of his heart. He has continually used damning words to describe the Catholic Church. The very fact that he feels it necessary to initiate such a thread... "Another Day in the Life of the Evil One's Helpers" is ample proof of his intent.

Please, stop acting as his spokesperson and in fact, the spokesperson for the forum (i.e. "I think WE ALL know..."). No... you do not speak for anyone... especially ALL... other than yourself.
« Last Edit: October 13, 2005, 12:10:20 AM by Stamfordguy » Logged
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« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2005, 12:17:09 AM »

According to your profile you have been registered since August 29, 2005.  I've been here since October 04, 2002 - so I think it is safe to assume I've seen a lot more of Tom's posts than you. 

Eitherway you are correct that I shouldn't speak for Tom, so I offer up my point on its own. 
"the Catholic Church as an institution has a problem.  Forced clerical celibacy is response for two larger problems that have created the high level of problems with Catholic clergy 1) a false dichotmy between clergy and laity and 2) normal men being driven to problems by forcing themselves to live a lifestyle unnatural to them and 3) the attraction of less quality individuals to clergy. "
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« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2005, 01:30:26 AM »

According to your profile you have been registered since August 29, 2005.  I've been here since October 04, 2002 - so I think it is safe to assume I've seen a lot more of Tom's posts than you. 

Eitherway you are correct that I shouldn't speak for Tom, so I offer up my point on its own. 
"the Catholic Church as an institution has a problem.  Forced clerical celibacy is response for two larger problems that have created the high level of problems with Catholic clergy 1) a false dichotomy between clergy and laity and 2) normal men being driven to problems by forcing themselves to live a lifestyle unnatural to them and 3) the attraction of less quality individuals to clergy. "

Never assume.... you know that as well as I. Length of time in this forum does not make assumptions a reliable thing to do.

The Catholic Church has many problems. I entirely agree. I disagree with the obsessive-compulsive need to drag it in the mire every few days and use derogatory terms. There are many godly men and women in the Catholic Church who just may enter heaven before you or I or Tom (Lord, have mercy). We do NOT have the authority to damn them. That prerogative belongs to the Lord alone.
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« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2005, 02:37:36 AM »

But now you are making this a matter of semantics.  Tom said "I damn the institution."  In traditional English usage that did in fact mean that he condemns (in his judgement) the entire institution to hell.  But in modern colloquial usage the verb "to damn" doesn't quite carry that meaning.  Of course only Tom can say what he meant, but at least in the usage of the word in its informal context I read his sentance to mean he assigns the blame of the RCC's failures on the institution that protected and harbored criminals.
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« Reply #20 on: October 13, 2005, 07:02:14 AM »

Eitherway you are correct that I shouldn't speak for Tom, so I offer up my point on its own.
"the Catholic Church as an institution has a problem. Forced clerical celibacy is response for two larger problems that have created the high level of problems with Catholic clergy 1) a false dichotmy between clergy and laity and 2) normal men being driven to problems by forcing themselves to live a lifestyle unnatural to them and 3) the attraction of less quality individuals to clergy. " 

I would have to agree with Tom and Silouan on this point - from a psychological standpoint everything Silouan outlines is true. Maybe the thread title could have been, um, more civil, but the subject matter in the news report is also one that makes me want to vomit each time I read it, so I can understand how he can come up with such a vitriolic title.
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« Reply #21 on: October 13, 2005, 09:41:01 AM »

Stamfordguy,

I think I have been pretty clear in saying that I damn the institution - not the general laity. Now, if God wants to condemn me to Hell for that - then let him also condemn those who damn Microsoft, IBM, The United Nations (Hey, I'm on board for THAT one too!), and Ford Motor Company.


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« Reply #22 on: October 13, 2005, 10:08:32 AM »

Wonderful! So you would agree then, Tom, that there are many wonderful and godly men and women in the Roman Catholic Church. Right? And you would agree that many of the clergy of that Church are godly men, living sacrificial lives...yes? I mean... we have the examples of Padre Pio and Mother Teresa to name but two who literally burned themselves out for Christ. Excellent. Sooo... let's be very clear in the future when we start our threads and make rather derogatory comments in them exactly what it is that we are damning. Okay? Great.... y'all have a wonderful day.  Wink
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« Reply #23 on: October 13, 2005, 10:29:33 AM »

Sooo... let's be very clear in the future when we start our threads and make rather derogatory comments in them exactly what it is that we are damning. Okay?

Well, you seemed to be the only one who misunderstood. And even after I pointed out that I damned the institution - you still kept trying to imply that I meant something else.

----------------------------------------------------------------

The global war for the soul of Catholicism
Young girls wear skimpy tops bearing the pious face of Mary as they snog their boyfriends

As the world's Catholic bishops gather today in Rome for the first synod since Pope Benedict XVI took charge, I can't stop thinking about Barrio La Carapita, a shantytown to the west of Caracas that I visited this summer.

Barrio La Carapita is a hillside neighbourhood built from cardboard and tin, where people live 10-to-a-house and still find space for a dozen small statues of the Virgin Mary. It's one of the country's many invisible slums, not even marked on maps - but the churches dotted among the rubble represent a microcosm of the battle within the Catholic Church between liberals and arch-reactionaries for the faith of 1.1 billion people.

You only have to glance at the barrio's sea of Catholokitsch to pick up on the contradictions embedded in their faith: young girls wear skimpy tops bearing the pious face of Mary as they snog the heads off their boyfriends. They loll about next to the cardboard doors of a church - and inside, I discovered a scene that would give Pope Benedict XVI a stroke.

A sassy 31-year-old nun named Lourdes Fuentes was officiating over mass, wearing jeans and flip-flops. "The priest will bless this bread and water later," she says as she handed it out to the congregation. To the accompaniment of a guitar, she sang, "You came to save the world in the humble womb of Mary/ you were tortured by the imperialist Roman Pilate/ You are alive in the shacks, in the schools, in the factories."

She then lead a democratic discussion, where she asked the congregation what they have read in the Bible and what it means to them. One said she was encouraged by the fact Jesus was black and associated with prostitutes; another woman said Jesus rebelled against a violent, machismo-obsessed society.

The priest assigned to this area, Juan Solorzano, rarely visits because he believes it is too dangerous. He lives instead in the wealthy part of town alongside the Venezuelan élite - but when he does grace the church, he offers a very different form of Catholicism. He offers a stern, hierarchical service with no participation. Instead of Lourdes's vision of a God who wants the poor to empower themselves, he says they should embrace their hunger and poverty because it brings them "closer to Christ". (You could almost hear him melting down that opiate of the masses and tapping the syringe.)

This might seem like an internal fight, irrelevant to non-Catholics like me - but it didn't take long before I got a glance of how innocent lives depend on whether liberal or reactionary Catholics prevail. Lourdes said: "A woman came here recently who has three children and hypertension, and she was very confused. She was pregnant again and the doctor said if she had the baby she could have a stroke and die. She did not know whether to have an abortion. The priest told her she must not. He said she would burn in hell if she did. In many churches, it would end there, and the woman would die. But here, once the priest was gone, we helped her arrange an abortion and she lived. If she had taken the priest's advice, her children might not have a mother today."

It gets worse. As Aids begins to rip through Venezuela, the priest here preaches - as so many of his colleagues have across Latin America and Africa - that condoms don't work. Don't wear one, it won't protect you.

In El Salvador, the Vatican has even successfully lobbied to have every pack of condoms marked with a dishonest warning that they are useless. It's an attempt to terrorise people out of having sex, but in practice it simply spreads Aids.

Lourdes explained: "We know it's crazy to tell people that, so when the priest leaves, we talk to everybody about condoms and the coil. We don't want to see 12-year-old girls having babies or 19-year-old boys dying of Aids. But in many churches the nuns are too afraid to do the same - and people die."

When we talk about religious civil wars today, we tend to think of the war within Islam, fought out everywhere from Bali to Kabul to King's Cross station. But the outcome of the battle within Catholicism - over condoms, Aids and abortion - may determine the life and death of just as many people. The News at Ten does not lead with footage of Catholic Africans dying of Aids after being told by the Vatican that the HIV virus passes through tiny imaginary holes in a condom, or with imagery of the silent mass rape of Catholic children that Rome has covered up for decades. It is not as photogenic as a suicide-massacre - but it can be just as deadly.

Lourdes's liberal wing of the Church is losing. When Cardinal Ratzinger was made Pope, she "cried and cried and cried. It was a disaster for us. I knew many people would die as a result of his teaching on condoms and abortion." Half of the world's Catholics live in Latin America, and many of them were already deeply suspicious of Ratzinger: he was the trained inquisitor tasked by the last Pope with liquidating liberation theology. He slapped down and excommunicated priests who tried to use the Church's power to oppose the far right dictatorships scarring the continent. Many grassroots priests are now determined to simply ignore his Papal pronouncements, just as Lourdes does - but those who don't (out of fear of expulsion, mostly) continue to hand out deadly diktats.

Some imagined Benedict would make concessions to the centre ground. But his actions have been driven by a different agenda: soft on paedophiles, tough on gays. One of his first decisions was to cancel a high-profile child molestation investigation. He did not bother to offer a reason. Father Marcial Maciel of Mexico had been accused by several men of raping them in the 1960s. According to the victims, the Vatican investigator, Monsignor Charles Scicluna, had already told them he was convinced they were telling the truth and that the Church owed them a public apology. Ratzinger halted the proceedings nonetheless.

Instead, in the past month the Pope has reportedly drafted an "instruction" for the expulsion of even celibate homosexuals from the priesthood. He has long damned the "deceitful propaganda" of gay rights campaigners, who promote an "intrinsically evil" act. He believes gay sex leads to "irrational and violent reactions" and thinks "the practice of homosexuality may threaten the lives of a large number of people". (May I use a condom, Your Holiness?) Liberal Catholics are now battening down for a church-wide witch-hunt against gay people.

For somebody as allergic to all shades of religion as me, it's tempting to sit back and watch smugly as theo-cons seize the Catholic Church. Won't their anti-democratic, anti-condom, anti-gay agenda merely empty the pews faster? But the reality is that most Catholics in Africa and countries such as Venezeula will not ditch their faith; they will follow its dogmas to the point of death, just as the pregnant woman in this Church might have done if Lourdes had not intervened.

As she watched her congregation filter out, Lourdes said, "It cannot continue like this. They are causing so many people to die, and for no reason." She lifted her eyes to a peeling statue of the Virgin Mary and murmured: "One day, decent people will take the Vatican." Her smile was feeble and bleakly unconvincing.




POSTSCRIPT: Feedback welcome at johann@johannhari.com
 
« Last Edit: October 13, 2005, 10:35:09 AM by TomS » Logged
Stamfordguy
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« Reply #24 on: October 13, 2005, 11:17:44 AM »

Sir, I do not IMPLY anything. I STATE quite clearly that you are evidentally obsessed with the Catholic Church and that you need to make it clear when you start your derogatory threads about the Catholic Church that it is the Church as an institution and not its members that you are criticizing. Furthermore I stand by my original assessment: you have no authority to damn ANYONE or ANYTHING. Period.

Have a great day.
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« Reply #25 on: October 13, 2005, 12:24:04 PM »

There are mistakes, heretics, sinners, gays etc etc on both sides of the fence.

I reduce my visits to many forums now...way too much BS slinging...we are all guilty of some type of sin.

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« Reply #26 on: October 13, 2005, 07:54:41 PM »

Amen to that!

 It seems to me that some converts... fanboys if you will, think they define Orthodoxy. They don't... by a country mile. What we have here is a very, very small group who scratch one another's backs and refuse to open their minds. That's okay... I recognize it for what it is and generally dismiss what they have to say. As for the current thread...it's a disgrace and has already caused one person who is Roman Catholic and had been looking into the claims of the Orthodox Church to turn away. Who can say how many others who lurk here and read this crap directed against other Christians have turned away in disgust.
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« Reply #27 on: October 13, 2005, 08:05:07 PM »

.. and has already caused one person who is Roman Catholic and had been looking into the claims of the Orthodox Church to turn away.

Well, must not have been too bright in the first place to remain Roman Catolic.
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« Reply #28 on: October 13, 2005, 09:47:41 PM »

Well, must not have been too bright in the first place to remain Roman Catolic.

 How very loving  of you! What Christ-like sentiments to mumble: "Well.. must not have been too bright in the first place..."

Excuse me? What right have you to cast such judgment upon this person? He wrote to me thanking me for trying to present a more balanced and loving stance as opposed to the hatred that is evident in almost every post from you. You cannot hate and love the Lord. You may say you love Him, but your speech betrays you. In this instance I tell you that a seeker has turned away because of you and several of your cronies here and all you can say is: WELL.. he must not have been too BRIGHT!" Oh... how rich is this? Just who are we really describing here?
btw: the word is Catholic NOR Catolic.
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« Reply #29 on: October 13, 2005, 10:31:50 PM »

I call upon the moderator to close this thread. Thank you.
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« Reply #30 on: October 13, 2005, 10:35:29 PM »

I call upon the moderator to close this thread. Thank you.

I second that emotion!  Grin

No, you PROVOKED that emotion, Tom.  Repeatedly and deliberately.  Such a blatant slam against Roman Catholics is hardly what we want this forum tolerating.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2005, 04:45:44 PM by Pedro » Logged
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« Reply #31 on: October 15, 2005, 04:35:23 PM »

Wish granted!
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From Protestant to Orthodox (my conversion story)
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