Archive for Catholic church

Committing Rape Qualifies You For Disability In Catholic Church

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Catholic Church rapeReverend Gil Gustafson

One thing you can't fault with the Catholic Church, they take care of their own -- even their own pedophiles. Don't believe me? Look at these clips from an article in The Raw Story:

According to an article in the Star Tribune, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis continued to pay the salary and health insurance premiums — as well as provide living expenses — for a pedophile priest who was convicted on child sex abuse charges over 30 years ago.

Join me in a head scratch over this one. Maybe with a little more factual information, I'll grasp this situation better.

Brian HerrityBrian Herrity

In 1983, the Reverend Gil Gustafson admitted to a Ramsey County District Court that he molested Brian Herrity for five years, beginning when the boy was 10 years old. He was fined $40 and sentenced to six months in jail and 10 years on probation. The vicar general in charge of clergy abuse cases, Rev. Kevin McDonough, believes that Gustafson abused between four and fifteen victims, including Herrity.

Wow. A self-confessed child sex offender who molested a child for five years, starting when the boy was 10 years old, is given a $40 dollar fine and half a year in jail. "Houston, we have a problem -- and it's in Minneapolis."

With such a light sentence, the message seems to be loud and clear -- to the courts in Minnesota and the Roman Catholic church -- pedophilia isn't a serious crime. Think I'm being smart-alecky? Remember I said the Rev was given a six month sentence?

After four-and-a-half months in jail, he was released into the care of the Church, and the archbishop at the time, John Roach, lobbied to have Gustafson reinstated.

“I want him back in a parish,” [arch-bishop] Roach wrote in 1990. “He has received and complied with far more treatment than anyone else, and it seems to me he has done it well.”

The Arch Bishop wants this criminal back? Why? Was he procuring boys for the prelate? Imagine, four months treatment and this predator was cured. That must be some great program they have there for sex offenders.

Well, that's the past and we must think of the present. We're taught to forgive and sometimes its hard, but okay. Maybe Reverend Gustafson's made his penance. Then again, maybe not. It seems no church wanted the disgraced clergyman, so get this:

According to the Star Tribune, in addition to the salary, insurance and living expenses given to him by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Gustafson also receives disability.

Salary, insurance, living expenses AND disability? This is astounding. It almost pays -- no, it does pay -- to become a priest and molest a child. You'll be taken care of for life.

The father of the boy rape victim put it perfectly:

Brian Herrity asked the paper, “since when is a crime a disability? If that’s the case, everyone in prison should be disabled.”

And that, fellow readers, is the state of the Catholic Church in Minnesota today. Proud?

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Hardest Working Gays In The Vatican -- The Pope's Full-Frontal and Rear Guard

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SwissGuardsmenw398h266

The Swiss Guard. Never heard of them? They're the special protection unit assigned to the Holy See. Their job is to make sure nothing happens to the Pope. These guys are truly men's men -- maybe even more than originally thought.

When you're chosen as Pontiff, it means you have 1.21 billion followers. That's the size of the Catholic Church and the pope's their head guy, hands down -- at least here on planet Earth. In the more heavenly area, there's a bit more competition -- the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. But here in flesh and blood, there's one guy -- and currently he's Pope Francis. And his safety is in the hands of a studly, special regiment -- the Swiss Guard.

Over the past few years rumors began echoing through the halls of the Vatican about this select squad and its involvement with Pope Francis's predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI. In a relatively rare move, the former pontiff decided to step aside and make room for the new guy, Francis. This doesn't happen too often. Generally Popes die in office. But not with Benedict. The last pope to step down was way back nearly 600 years ago. He was Pope Gregory XII and his resignation was dated in 1417, so it's truly a rarity.

It does lead you to ponder what made Pope Benny decide to give up the vast power and authority of the high office and what role did the Swiss Guard play in it? That's a good question, and we're going to get there. But first, scholars are now indicating that it has to do with their power in the palace... and influence in the boudoir.

Via The Daily Beast:

For more than a year now, there has been ample talk around Rome about a powerful gay lobby at work inside the Vatican.  When Pope Benedict XVI resigned in February 2013, rumors were rampant that the alleged gay lobby was part of the reason he left the papacy.

Holy cow, or Holy sh**! A gay lobby in the Roman Catholic Church? Why that's unheard of... that's usually reserved for the American archdiocese. Do you mean to say it's not just an American thing? It's spread to H.Q.?

 Apparently the gay lobby was so powerful it was given ample ink in a still-secret red-covered dossier presented to Benedict as part of a Vatileaks internal investigation after his butler was convicted of stealing his private papers.

Wow, secret red covered dossiers with information about the Pope's private papers, or were these papers about the Pope's use of his privates?

How big is this cabal of gays and why do they have so much influence in the Vatican today? Well, part of the reveal comes from Pope Francis himself, soon after his swearing-in ceremonies:

The new Pope Francis even referred to the gay lobby at a June 6 meeting with Latin American prelates. “In the Curia there are holy people, truly holy people,” Francis reportedly told the Latin American delegation. “But there is also a current of corruption, also there is, it is true … They speak of a ‘gay lobby,’ and that is true, it is there.

Now we've got it from the Holy Man himself. There's a gay lobby. Who'd have thunk it, among the Roman Catholic Church? I don't personally have any problem with that. I live in a country where there's a Tea Party lobby and I fear they're far more dangerous than the LGBT community.

Fresh allegations now point to the lobby extending deep into the Swiss Guard, the pope’s elite protective security force, who are known for their striped yellow, red, orange and blue Renaissance uniforms. The elite troops are specially trained Swiss soldiers between the age of 19 and 30.

swiss guard uniforms

Nothing like playing into stereotypes. And don't those colorful uniforms look so -- Yves St. Laurent? Certainly not Chanel or Dior but youthful, with a splash of color. Oh, and don't overlook that red, feathery headgear -- let's just say it makes a definite fashion statement.

As we accept the presence of gays being part of a lobby in the Vatican, it's just a short tap step to examining the Pope's safety. Who ya gonna call when God's spokesman's in trouble? The Swiss Guard. And who's actively filling it's membership? Why gay men, of course.

 Elmar Mader, a former commander who led the elite force from 2002 to 2008, who seconded the rumors, and went one step further, telling the paper that could not “refute the claim that there is a network of homosexuals” within the Swiss Guard itself.

Maybe it's time to settle back and realize that there hasn't been an attack on a pope for five years now, and before that, you have to go back to 1981. Maybe these guys/gays are doing their job. Why shouldn't the Pope put his life in the hands of people of all types and influences? Maybe if you don't try to hide something, but rather understand it, you'll find that "problem" may become a solution and perhaps even save your life.

Pope Francis with Swiss Guard

Francis is openly giving it a shot. Isn't it time for the rest of his flock around the world, those 1.2 billion Catholic followers, to shed the coils of intolerance and say, "welcome to the club?"

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Outbreak of Virgin Births -- God Loves North Carolina

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birth of Christ

Christmas time is a peaceful time, when we're not fighting the war on Christmas. It's a time to reflect back on the true meaning of the holiday. We talk of the miracle of Christmas. "Wake up Jesus. It's your birthday. Come and celebrate. It's your birthday."

Yes, it's the miracle of the Lord's entry into our world in that small manger in Bethlehem. December 25, not sure of the biblical year because in school we had B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (Anno Domini which is Medieval Latin, translated as In the year of the Lord). Truthfully, I thought AD stood for After Death, so we'll leave the definition to the Latins linguists, the calendar to the Romans, and Christ to the rest of us.

What is really important is the meaning of the holiday, celebrating the Jesus birth as a miracle. Yet perhaps a bit more attention should be placed on another date: The Annunciation of the Lord, which celebrates Jesus’s entry into Mary’s womb. The celebration of that consummation is on March 25—nine months before Xmas. That, my friends is the beginning of the true miracle -- especially if we're going to buy into the immaculate conception theory.

C'mon, you don't think that's the miracle here? Most women are capable of having a child. Not all can do it the Holy Ghost way.

There may be more than one, though. In actuality, there's a few more virgin births than you might think.

DAILY BEAST reports:

The first woman who immaculately conceived in biblical times was not Mary, the mother of Jesus; rather it was her mother, Anne, wife of Joachim, who produced Mary immaculately so that Mary would in turn herself be a sin-free mother when the time came for her virgin pregnancy and the subsequent delivery of Jesus.

Pope Pius IX, in 1854, had declared that the Immaculate Conception of Mary within Anne’s womb was dogma—i.e., a non-negotiable price of admission to the Roman Catholic faith. The Feast of the Immaculate Conception, which occurs in early December, celebrates this miraculous non-coital event.

So, if Pope Pius IX is to be believed (and I don't want to go on record as rebuking the word of a pope), Mary's mother Anne gave birth to the first immaculate child. Oh, and in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, this was after Anne had one child the old fashioned way. So not being a virgin, Anne would certainly know if she had been "shtupped" or not for Mother Mary's conception. She says she wasn't and if Joachim believed her, why shouldn't I?

Putting aside Anne's celibacy practices, and the same with her daughter Mary's, it's interesting that in contemporary times, just like with Jesus himself, there's been a resurrection. Lately there's been a rash of virgin births. Oh, you hadn't heard?

Yes, there has been an outbreak of these miraculous events. Does that make all of these children, sons and daughters of God? Boy, that Lord, he sure does get around lately. Ladies, you better sleep with your legs crossed, according to Todd Akin.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina have found that immaculate conceptions, of a type, appear to be much more commonplace than biology would have predicted. Using a very large data set of 7,870 once-teenage young women who were followed prospectively for 14 years, they found that 45 women, or .5 percent of the 5,340 women who became pregnant during the study period, reported that they were still virgins at the time of their pregnancy. Call it the Mary Syndrome.

Whoa-sy doasy. That sure takes the miracle out of Christmas, don't you think? And it also calls into question how many more of these virgin births have been going unreported over the past 2000+ years.

I don't want to throw cold water on a wonderful holiday, but maybe this is something Fox News can wrap itself around after the holiday, when the Phil Roberston, Duck Dynasty brouhaha dies down. I'd sure love to hear their take on the red state of North Carolina's research on virgin births. I wonder how the Tar Heel Tea Party will spin this one? Will their new state slogan be "Visit North Carolina a virgin, go home a mother."

In the meantime, don't give up on enjoying Christmas. It is a special holiday -- just maybe not a special as you might have been led to believe. Okay, yes it is. A birthday's always special. Stay safe and be healthy.

Follow me on Twitter: @linzack

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Pope Francis Spanks US Cardinals

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pope Francis with mitor

It's not nice to fool Mother Nature nor is it wise to play fast and footloose with the Holy See. He walks softly and carries a big stick. He's not someone who suffers fools and intolerance easily or without response. I gotta say, from an outsider, I like this guy. Add me to the list headed by Bill Maher who thinks the church made a good choice this time.

Pope Francis showed what he's made of on Monday when he took action against a conservative American cardinal who has been an outspoken critic of abortion and same-sex marriage. The Pontiff replaced Cardinal Raymond L. Burke from the Congregation for Bishops on a powerful Vatican committee with another American who is less identified with the culture wars within the Roman Catholic Church.

This action is seen by those inside the velvet church ropes to be a warning. There's a new sheriff in town and he's strong, compassionate, understanding and believes on lifting the church and all of it's congregants to new levels of humanity and humility. Two good "H's" to shoot for.

Ideology meet theology. Catholic Church meet the real world. There's plenty of changes coming, and there's plenty of room for them. Catholics all over the world have been yearning for a leader to take them into modern times and deal with contemporary issues. The pope can't do that alone. He's going to need allies and help.

To replace Cardinal Burke, Francis chose Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington, an ideological moderate with a deep knowledge of the Vatican but also with pastoral experience. Father Reese noted that Cardinal Burke had been a leader of American bishops arguing that Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should be barred from receiving communion, while Cardinal Wuerl had taken an opposite tack.

The change in theocracy isn't just in replacing Pope Benedict XVI with Pope Francis, or Cardinal Burke with Cardinal Wuerl. The all-star team on the Pontiff's team has another new player in the fold.

The pope also removed Cardinal Justin Rigali, the former archbishop of Philadelphia, from the Congregation for Bishops. From his committee post, Cardinal Rigali has long been a crucial player in shaping the American hierarchy. He stepped down as archbishop of Philadelphia amid a scandal over his handling of priest abuse cases there.

And Francis reconfirmed the congregational posting for Cardinal William J. Levada, a former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Like Cardinal Wuerl, Cardinal Levada is considered a moderate.

So plow on Christian soldiers. You're building a good, strong team. And we owe a tip of the hat to your manager, Pope Francis.

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Pope Francis Condemns Most Republicans, Especially Paul Ryan

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Pope Francis

Pope Francis has made all kinds of news since he became the Holy See. Whether it's embracing a boil-covered disfigured man, or speaking out on tolerance for homosexuality or most recently on the economy, a call in trouble brings Papa on the double. There's no doubt this soft-spoken pontiff is using his bully pulpit to inspire and in some cases, enrage his flock. And humanity and humility are being best served.

Of his latest target, the Pope is concerned that Capitalism is out of control. It's breeding contempt for the poor while promoting the enrichment of the elitists. He particularly singles out the turning of the collective backs of the capitalists and budget cutters on the poor. Who are these betrayers of human decency? The Republican party in the United states. And who is the contemporary Judas Iscariot? Paul Ryan.

Take a look at a few of the recent quotes from the man in the big pointed hat in his just-issued Apostolic Exhortation. He addresses the global debate about inequality:

"Today, and it breaks my heart to say it, finding a homeless person who has died of cold, is not news. Today, the news is scandals, that is news, but the many children who don't have food - that's not news. This is grave. We can't rest easy while things are this way."

The "cult of money" is tyrannizing the poor and turning humans into expendable consumer goods.

Now if you want to look at the GOP's recent Pope of capitalism, the corrupt but sanctified hero of the Republicans, Ronald Reagan put forth the policy which became knows as "Trickle Down Economics." It started us on the downward into the death spiral where we find ourselves today. And how does Pope Francis view Reagan's fairy tale plan for economic growth?

"Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system."

Do you hear that Catholics in Congress? This man is your spiritual leader. Do you wish to believe the Gipper who was a sinner or Francis who is the Pope?

He's talking to all of us, Jew and Gentile, in the Apostolic Exhortation but especially to you Republicans who consistently seek to harm and punish the poor, the young, the elderly and those who try, but cannot succeed because of your oppressive ways.

These are not the protests and warnings of some mad, 14th century mind. This pope has actually acclimated to modern ways to reach the world with public appearances, television addresses and even Twitter.

@Pontifex
Pope Francis

How marvelous it would be if, at the end of the day, each of us could say: today I have performed an act of charity towards others!

Well all you GOP mindless zombies who believe the only purpose for a budget is slash it of every social service. Is that how your God teaches you? Not mine.

Now Paul Ryan and your co-horts, remind me again about joining a move to not only blunt a raise in minimum wages, but in some case even proposing doing away with a minimum wage all together. Here's how Francis sees that:

"Not paying fairly, not giving a job because you are only looking at balance sheets, only looking at how to make a profit. That goes against God!"

Here's another tweet that is meant for you:

@Pontifex
Pope Francis

My thoughts turn to all who are unemployed, often as a result of a self-centred mindset bent on profit at any cost.

Ah, but the Pontiff doesn't stop there.

@Pontifex
Pope Francis

Prayer, humility, and charity toward all are essential in the Christian life: they are the way to holiness.

And here's a final tweet that should cause you to wake up and realize you're committing crimes against humanity in the eyes of your holy leader.

@Pontifex
Pope Francis

The measure of the greatness of a society is found in the way it treats those most in need, those who have nothing apart from their poverty.

We here in America want a great society (thanks LBJ and now Pope Francis). That's not what we're getting from our 113th Congress, especially the Tea Party heathens who claim their part of the the religious right but are actually full-blown hypocrites, one and all. I find no fault having beliefs of any kind. I gladly accept atheism which seems void of most established beliefs which is a belief, in and of itself. What I do fault is those who harm others under the name of religion yet who don't even know they're breaking their own tenets. Those are the living lost souls. Those are the Republicans who deny aid to those in need.

Life for most is too short. Yet for a growing number its far too long as they suffer every moment in poverty, sickness, joblessness and GOP-austerity. Their torment seems to never end exacerbated by seeing the stock market rise to record numbers while our the GOP denies aid to our poorest.

Wake up Congress. Join the world's 1.21 Billion Catholics who are being told to stop worshiping false idols of capitalism and let faith and charity lead the way. You may not become richer in money, but you will in humanity. Stop the GOP hate machine and do something positive -- for a change. The party of "no" must become the party of "no longer out of service."

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The Catholic Church On Moral Evils

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Holy Smokes

Oh holy mother of G'd. What hath Stephen Fry wrought?  He's taken on G'd, the Holy See, the Cardinals, Bishops and priesthood in a recent attack on the church. Now he groups the Roman Catholic leadership all together in the incredulous blame game -- and quite brilliantly, I might add.

This is short, as perhaps any condemnation should be. If you can't get to the point, how are you going to get people to notice?

So, if you're not highly offended by an intelligent man asking a most intelligent set of questions, carve yourself half a minute and watch the great Stephen Fry do what I refer to as a "stir Fry."

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Minnesota Catholic school fires second teacher this year... for being gay

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silence not always golden

ostendorf fired for being gayVia Facebook

Back in August I wrote a piece about a California teacher being fired after marrying his partner. He got booted because he dared to legally marry the man he'd been with for ten years, and school officials happened to see photos of the wedding in a local newspaper.

The lesson that taught his students was that it's okay to be gay as long as you don't audibly express feelings for your loved one or commit to him/her in public. That's wrong. Being honest and proud of your monogamous relationship is wrong. You can only be a certain amount of gay, the private kind of gay.

Or as John Oliver put it:

So you can have gay desires, you just can't take gay action. Which I guess means you can listen to "YMCA," but you may not under any circumstances do the hand gestures.

Gay men can have sex, as long as it's with lesbian women, within the confines of a loveless marriage. Just as God nearly intended.

In that post, I wrote the following:

Dear School Officials:

Being gay is not a "lifestyle choice," and getting married is not a "public display of behavior that is directly contrary to church teachings that are inconsistent with these values." Getting married is one of those family values you're so fond of espousing (no pun). But, darn! You happened to spot a photo of a ceremony in which two men made their devotion to each other legal, and that made you feel all queasy and icky inside, so you fired a well-qualified, popular teacher.

It's 2013 and marriage equality is here to stay, so try living in the present instead of your very intolerant, unaccepting past. Consensual love is a good thing, remember?

"Nothing can bring a real sense of security into the home except true love." Author: Billy Graham

Here we go again, this time in Minnesota, and this time the teacher had worked at the school for 18 years. Then she came out. It only took one day to fire her. Via MinnPost:

After enduring the Catholic school version of “don’t ask/don’t tell” for several years, Totino-Grace High School English/religion teacher Kristen Ostendorf unexpectedly came out to her colleagues at the 47–year-old Catholic school in Fridley on Aug. 21. “I’m gay, I’m in a relationship with a woman, and I’m happy,” Ostendorf blurted out to a roomful of 120 fellow teachers at a workshop. She was asked to resign the next day.

She didn’t, the school terminated her, and in a matter of moments the 43-year-old Ostendorf had become the second Totino-Grace educator to part ways with the school over sexual identity this summer (president Bill Hudson resigned in July after acknowledging he is in a committed same-sex relationship).

Ostendorf said, "Growing up, I never knew anyone who was gay. ... So I think that maybe, just maybe, kids, adults, and whoever can say, 'OK, there’s a real human being who really means to be herself and live her life and does it with integrity. She’s gay.' That’s a big deal. Instead of, 'That person’s a criminal.' I’m not a big fan of silence.... And the sad story is, I’d like to be the last person to be fired for who I loved, or for the gender of the person I love. But I won’t be, probably, and the silence around it terrifies me."

Silence is not always golden, and nobody deserves to be terrified of revealing their devotion to a loved one. Nobody.

family values my assMuch more at the link.

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