Archive for priests

Priests To Be Equipped With "Off Duty" Lights On Collars

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priest

Sexual abuse is no laughing matter. It's serious and it's tragic. Yet... of course there's a yet-- the legal defense of an accused offender can be somewhat laughable simply because the crime itself is inexcusable.

As an attorney, you're often charged with defending the indefensible, because the laws of this land provide that all defendants deserve the right to capable defensive representatives. (the Sixth Amendment & the 1966 Miranda v. Arizona case).  And counsel is only limited by their imaginations, at least if the lawyers for the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey are to be taken seriously.

They attempted to get a sex abuse case dropped against the church because, as they claim, they should not be held liable for sexual abuse allegedly committed by a priest because he wasn’t officially “on duty” when he molested a teenage boy.

Personally, I wasn't aware that being a man of the cloth, working for God, was a part time job. Evidently, these holy men are officially on the job only when their "on duty" light is illuminated. From The Raw Story:

Lawyers claim the Diocese of Trenton, New Jersey, should not be held liable for sexual abuse allegedly committed by a priest because he wasn’t officially “on duty” when he molested a teenage boy.

Chris Naples claimed Rev. Terence McAlinden, who once headed the diocese’s youth group, sexually abused him during church-sponsored trips to Delaware in the 1980s.

Just as an aside, that means the the good Reverend escorted a minor across state lines for the purposes of having sex with him. Ever hear of the Mann Act a felony to engage in interstate or foreign commerce transport of "any woman or girl for the purpose of prostitution or debauchery, or for any other immoral purpose?" I guess Chris Naples being an underage boy and not a girl meant that law didn't apply here. Or maybe it's because no money changed hands here, huh?

But diocese lawyers told the Delaware Supreme Court that [Rev. Terence] McAlinden was not officially on duty when the abuse took place.

“You can determine a priest is not on duty when he is molesting a child, for example,” the attorney argued. “A priest abusing a child is absolutely contrary to the pursuit of his master’s business, to the work of a diocese.”

And guess what? This defense seems to have worked.

Delaware courts ruled Naples did not have jurisdiction to sue the diocese in that state because he couldn’t prove the trips were church sanctioned, but he did win a $3 million judgment in that state against McAlinden.

Ask yourself this: If these trips weren't church sanctioned, what was Rev. McAlinden doing  as a chaperon on them?

The argument here indicates that if a priest does something wrong, even if it's on a church sponsored trip, the church is not responsible.

Delaware has now coined the phrase, "A priest ain't on the clock if he's playing with an little boy's c***."

During that time, because he's doing something wrong, he's not a priest or part of the diocese. He's just an average Joe. Ergo, the church isn't responsible. So says the Delaware Supreme Court.

This seems a bit specious to me.

priests collar

Is it time for Pope Francis to mandate new collars for Catholic priests? The new one's must come equipped with more than just a white block in the front. They need to  have "good bookend" lights on them, one green and one red, indicating when they're on duty and when their off. Though I thought that when you took your vows to become a priest, you were tied to God on a full-time basis, but I guess I was mistaken.

Once the warning lights are installed, we'll all know who we can rely upon in time of spiritual need.

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What is Conscience Creep And How's It Affecting All Of Us?

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new wordsDahlia Lithwick in her recent essay for Slate, describes the new term that we should all be aware of:

The problem isn’t conscience clause legislation so much as what we might call conscience creep: a slow but systematic effort to use religious conscience claims to sidestep laws that should apply to everyone. 

Recalibrating who can express a right of conscience (i.e do corporations have a conscience?) and what the limits of that conscience might be, may well be the next front in the religious liberty wars being waged in courts around the country.

So what does that really mean to all of us. We know there are always provisions written into our US laws, specifically the 1973 Church Amendment, that makes exceptions for considering one's religious beliefs in how and to what extent laws affect them.

Recently and with more frequency religious and moral convictions became a catchphrase and explanation for law violations. It can be understandable when used legitimately. But therein lies the rub. Lately right wing organizations, under the guise of religious beliefs, have called upon this clause to stop just about anything that they don't like. The justification is the gray area.

Churches, Synagogues, Mosques, have all applied the church amendment. There it's much more cut an dry as they stand and exist for religious reasons only. But what about colleges, hospitals and prisons? Do they get the same religious protections. They don't deal primarily in an orthodoxy that these laws might violate. And they receive federal funds.

Last year, for instance, a prison guard withheld an abortion pill from a prisoner who’d been raped on the grounds that it violated her personal religious beliefs. And it hasn’t stopped at abortion, birth control, or sterilization, but may include activities like counseling rape victims or teaching AIDS patients about clean needles.

What about with adoption agencies claiming for religious reasons they won't allow a same sex couple to adopt or give a black child to a white family? Here again, the doctrine of religious conscience is being used to circumvent the thrust of the law.

Now this doctrine of religious conscience is moving into corporate headquarters. For cost saving purposes, but under the "excuse" of religious beliefs, companies are determining which laws they want to observe, and which they wish to void. These are not entities that by their identity are religious, but rather their owners are.

It doesn't stop  there. The military. Our military, made up of every race, creed, religion. States have passed laws that ban same sex marriage based on religious dogma. Yet same sex marriages by National Guardsmen/women are acknowledged by the federal government but not by the states. So to get ID cards, medical care, family counseling, other military benefits, the same sex couples must travel to Federal bases. They're denied their rights within the states. And the basis is religious conscience creep, not national security.

military silhouette

This past summer, Republicans in the House tried to amend the National Defense Authorization Act to "protect inappropriate, defamatory, and discriminatory speech and actions" in the military. The amendment broadened a "conscience clause" that protected the right of troops and chaplains to hold anti-gay views so long as they did not actively discriminate against gay service members.

Are corporations, the military, fast food chicken outlets, hospitals, colleges, liquor store chains, burger joints, qualified to get these exemptions. Are corporations people? Do they have a conscience? The Supreme Court will ultimately decide as more and more conscience creep is experienced.

But ask yourself this, where do we draw the line?

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter: @Linzack

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"God-- I Love The Guy But The Fan Clubs Freak Me Out"

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Atheist

What happens when you have a debate between an Atheist, and a Christian? You get fireworks, a surprising argument and some wide-eyed discussion. Oh, and believe it or not, lots of laughs.

One of the points brought up by John Fugelsang, representing the Christian point of view, is his own background. He describes his family this way, "my mother was an ex-nun and my father was a Franciscan brother.

I'm the whitest guy in this room but you could say my mother was a Sister and my father was a Brother.

That's religion for you. It makes for some pretty strange bedfellows.

Fugelsang argues that those who hold the bible so dear to themselves would have trouble these days with electing Jesus for public office. After all, he was:

...a socialist. peaceful, radical non-violent revolutionary, hung out with lepers, hookers and crooks, never spoke English, wasn't an American citizen, was anti-wealth, anti-death penalty, anti-public prayer (Matthew 6:5) never anti-gay, never anti-abortion, never anti-premarital sex, long haired, brown skinned and a Jew.

And that's the Christian making that argument. Does make you pause.

On the Agnostic side, you get Jamie Kilstein who explains his disappointment with creationism by referring to how the majestic beauty of Niagara Falls wasn't part of the God's original plan. Sort of an afterthought.

So for sure you'll be entertained and enlightened with this humorous debate. You don't have to agree or disagree with either side -- but listening to it is fun. At least I hope you find it so.

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Top UK cardinal accused of "inappropriate" and "intimate" behavior with priests. #FamilyValues

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Via adammclane.com

Via adammclane.com

You've heard of Rock the Vote, you've heard of rock the boat, but have you heard of rock the church?

WaPo:

LONDON— On the same day as his last public blessing Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI confronted the threat of a fresh scandal within the church hierarchy, with Vatican officials informing him of new allegations that Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric had engaged in inappropriate behavior with priests.

In Britain, the accusations against Cardinal Keith O’Brienhead of the church in Scotland and one of this nation’s most strident opponents of gay rights—were already escalating into a national controversy. The controversy revolved around a report first published Saturday night on the Web site of Britain’s Observer newspaper, saying that four men – three current and one former priest — had denounced O’Brien earlier this month for engaging in “inappropriate” and “intimate” behavior. Through a spokesman, O’Brien denied the charges and was said he was seeking legal counsel. [...]

[O]ne of the alleged victims claimed O’Brien had instigated a “relationship” with him in the 1980s that resulted in the need for long-term counseling. Another of the men said O’Brien had initiated “inappropriate contact” during nightly prayers, according to the paper.

O’Bigot O'Brien has referred to marriage equality as a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right” and has let it be known that he thinks gays are immoral.

But "inappropriate, intimate" behavior with men of the cloth works for him. During prayer time. Got it.

family values my asshypocrite definition smaller

And don't get me started on Roger Mahony.

UPDATE: O'Brien resigned.

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Ryan's former parish priest worried about VP role: "You can’t just pack your own heat and protect your own building."

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Earlier I posted Paul Ryan’s mom is “on something that he wants to destroy”: Medicare. His budget would destroy the middle class. Apparently, Paul "Eddie Haskell" Ryan's own former parish priest is concerned that the Ryan budget proposal that Willard Romney supports (or doesn't, then does, then doesn't, then does) will hurt the poor.

He's right.

And Ryan's praise and reliance on Ayn Rand's values aren't sitting too well either. Ryan:

“I grew up reading Ayn Rand and it taught me quite a bit about who I am and what my value systems are and what my beliefs are. It inspired me so much that it’s required reading in my office for all my interns and my staff.”

Via PR Watch:

[T] the priest who presides over the archways and the towering steeple of the Nativity of Mary says that Ryan's interpretation of Catholic teaching in national budgetary matters and his prospective vice presidential role have him "worried." Father Stephen Umhoefer told the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) that he supports a role for religion in the public square, but that Ryan‘s austerity budget and proposed steep cuts in social programs are inconsistent with the Catholic teachings that Ryan cites to justify the policies. [...]

For Umhoefer, the test of the budget is a simple one: "The first question is how does this affect the poor. And everything else follows from that. That doesn't mean it's a Republican or Democrat [question] -- you could argue that. But the primary question is how does this affect the poor?"

Umhoefer said that Ryan's lack of attention to the poor and the emphasis on individualism espoused by role models such as Ayn Rand concerned him. "Paul would say that the only way to save the country from a coming [fiscal] disaster is 'follow my plan.'" But according to Umhoefer, the problem is "you can't tell somebody that in ten years your economic situation is going to be just wonderful because meanwhile your kids may starve to death." [...]

But sometimes we need to be rescued: "You can’t just pack your own heat and protect your own building," he cautioned.

The GOP is out for nobody but themselves. They're willing to throw the poor and middle class under the bus in order to enrich each other and their corporate cronies. America's health and well being matter very little, but profits and creating a class system apparently matter a whole lot.

It's disheartening and maddening to see how little they think of their fellow citizens while wrapping themselves in the flag, projecting their own failings onto the Democratic party, and systematically destroying the country they claim to love so much.

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PhotOh! Completely Inappropiate Stained Glass

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By GottaLaff

My Twitter pal LJSearles found this via davetube555, who, incidentally, lives in Northern Ireland. We're not sure if it's "real", but....


Holy mother of...

Good lord.

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Pope 'led cover-up of child abuse by priests'

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By GottaLaff

This is not what one would call a Popeworthy approach to child abuse:

The Pope played a leading role in a systematic cover-up of child sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests, according to a shocking documentary to be screened by the BBC tonight.

In 2001, while he was a cardinal, he issued a secret Vatican edict to Catholic bishops all over the world, instructing them to put the Church's interests ahead of child safety.

The document recommended that rather than reporting sexual abuse to the relevant legal authorities, bishops should encourage the victim, witnesses and perpetrator not to talk about it. And, to keep victims quiet, it threatened that if they repeat the allegations they would be excommunicated.

If this is true...

There are more details at the link.

A tweet from Roger Ebert says, "It appears to me as if Pope Benedict will be forced to resign."

What do you think?

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