BBC: US bishop resigns amid abuse cover-up accusations

Bishop Richard Malone in 2006 Richard Malone has been accused of mishandling complaints of abuse

The Vatican has announced the resignation of a US bishop who faced widespread criticism for his handling of sexual abuse claims.

Bishop Richard J Malone of New York state’s Buffalo oversaw one of the country’s most scandal-hit dioceses.

It is facing more than 200 lawsuits and an FBI investigation.

In a statement, Mr Malone said that “after much prayer and discernment” he had decided the diocese would be better served by a new bishop.

At 73, he is leaving earlier than the 75-year mark that is the mandatory age for bishops to offer their retirement.

“As you are well aware, we have faced tremendous turmoil over the past year-and-a-half,” Mr Malone said in the statement.

“Some have attributed this to my own shortcomings, but the turmoil also reflects the culmination of systemic failings over many years in the worldwide handling of sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy.”

Mr Malone was accused of cover-ups and faced embarrassing leaks.

One contained Mr Malone’s interactions with Church lawyers which appeared to try and limit the damage of abuse allegations.

Secret audio recordings this year suggested Bishop Malone was worried a scandal involving sexual harassment of a seminarian by a pastor “could be the end of me as bishop”.

Another leak showed that he was hesitant about removing a priest whom he referred to as a “sick puppy”.

‘Healing and renewal’

The diocese had avoided any major scandals until 2018 when complaints of abuse started emerging.

In March of that year, Mr Malone released a document showing 42 priests who had been accused of sexual abuse, mostly from past decades.

But his former assistant said an earlier draft contained upwards of 100 names.

A recent poll conducted by The Buffalo News suggested that 86% of local Catholics wanted the bishop to go. Fewer than 3% of those surveyed said he should stay on.

A petition signed by more than 12,000 people called for his departure.

“I have concluded after much prayer and discernment that the spiritual welfare of the people of the Diocese of Buffalo will be better served by a new bishop who perhaps is better able to bring about the reconciliation, healing and renewal that is so needed,” Mr Malone said.

Mr Malone will be replaced on a temporary basis by Albany’s bishop, Edward B Scharfenberger.

“I will be doing a lot of listening and learning,” the new bishop said in a statement.

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70 Catholics Arrested in Capitol Hill Protest of Trump’s Immigration Policies

H1 catholics arrested capitol hill protest immigration nuns clergy sit in russell senate office asylum seekers trump policies

In Washington, D.C., Capitol Police arrested 70 Catholic nuns and clergy Thursday as they held a nonviolent sit-in protest inside the Russell Senate Office Building against the Trump administration’s inhumane treatment of immigrants and asylum seekers. More than a dozen protesters stood in a circle, holding the photographs of migrant children who have died in U.S. custody, and reciting their names. The latest protests came as immigrant communities across the U.S. have prepared for reported ICE raids that were scheduled to begin last weekend but have largely not materialized.

US ex-cardinal Theodore McCarrick defrocked over abuse claims!!

Mr McCarrick in his priest's collar, file photoMultiple allegations against Theodore McCarrick have emerged

A former Roman Catholic cardinal has been defrocked after historical sexual abuse allegations.

Theodore McCarrick is the most senior Catholic figure to be dismissed from the priesthood in modern times.

US Church officials said allegations he had sexually assaulted a teenager five decades ago were credible.

Mr McCarrick, 88, had previously resigned but said he had “no recollection” of the alleged abuse.

“No bishop, no matter how influential, is above the law of the Church,” Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said in a statement.

“For all those McCarrick abused, I pray this judgment will be one small step, among many, toward healing.”

The alleged abuses may have taken place too long ago for criminal charges to be filed because of the statute of limitations.

Mr McCarrick was the archbishop of Washington DC from 2001 to 2006. Since his resignation last year from the College of Cardinals, he has been living in seclusion in a monastery in Kansas.

He was the first person to resign as a cardinal since 1927.

He is among hundreds of members of the clergy accused of sexually abusing children over several decades and his dismissal comes days before the Vatican hosts a summit on preventing child abuse.

The Vatican said Pope Francis had ruled Mr McCarrick’s expulsion from the clergy as definitive, and would not allow any further appeals against the decision.


‘Zero tolerance’

Martin Bashir, BBC religion editor

This is a significant moment in the Roman Catholic Church’s effort to address the tide of sex abuse scandals – not least because of the high status this former Cardinal Archbishop once held.

Not only was he the first cleric in more than 100 years to resign from the College of Cardinals, but his removal from the priesthood also confirms Pope Francis’ assertion that anyone found guilty of abuse will be treated with zero tolerance, regardless of their status within the church.

The Vatican has said that the investigative process was completed in January and Mr McCarrick was informed of the decision to dismiss him from the priesthood last night. It comes days before Pope Francis will host all the presidents of bishops conferences around the world at a summit in Rome.

The summit is designed to reflect upon the global challenge of abuse and to develop protocols and procedures that could be applied across continents.


What are the allegations?

Mr McCarrick is alleged to have assaulted the teenager while working as a priest in New York in the early 1970s. The claims were made public by the current Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Timothy Dolan.

He said an independent forensic agency had investigated the allegations. A review board, including legal experts, psychologists, parents and a priest, then found the allegations “credible and substantiated”.

At the time, Mr McCarrick said in a statement that had “no recollection of this reported abuse” and believed in his innocence.

Several more men have since said the cleric forced them to sleep with him at a beach house in New Jersey, while they studied for the priesthood as adult seminarians. One man has come forward saying he was assaulted while still a minor.

It has also since emerged that financial settlements were reached in at least two cases of alleged sexual misconduct with adults involving Mr McCarrick.

They involved “allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago”, while he was working as a bishop in New Jersey, bishops in the state told US media.

“It’s your word against God’s” video testimony from three Pennsylvania victims

How does this fit into the wider sexual abuse scandal?

The dismissal of Mr McCarrick is the latest incident in a series of long-running cases of sexual abuse of children and young men by priests at the Church.

In Germany, more than 3,600 children were assaulted by priests between 1946 and 2014, a leaked report revealed in October 2018.

In the US, a Pennsylvania grand jury named more than 300 clergy in a report which found more than 1,000 children had been abused.

In June 2018, a former Vatican diplomat was sentenced to five years in prison in the Vatican for child pornography offences.

In Chile, 34 Roman Catholic bishops offered to resign in May 2018 in the wake of a child sex scandal and cover-up.

In recent weeks, Pope Francis has also admitted that priests have sexually abused nuns and in one case kept them as sex slaves.

Indigenous Peoples Day – Jacqui Voltaire

While this is about the experience in Canada this is what was happening at the same time in the US. It is important that these truths get out. I am sorry for those who do not have Facebook who cannot see the whole thing. But below that is a you tube video that is part of it you can view. Imagine both Canada and the US were out to rid both countries of all Natives and through all of that, they are still here. We can not erase the wrongs our ancestors did, but we can share the truths and call out all who were responsible then and those still doing damage in so many ways to the Native people today.  Below the videos is a hearing happening Monday feb.11th 10AM to change the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day for the entire state of Maine. Please share.
Love,jacqui
STOLEN CHILDREN – CATHOLIC RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL
 The State and Local Government Committee has scheduled a public hearing on this bill for 2/11 at 10 a.m.  It will be held at the Cross Building Room 214.
We need a critical mass of enlightened citizens to add Maine to the growing list of states who have made the move to add Columbus Day to the ash heap of history.
 
An Act To Change the Name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day.
 (L.D. 179) Bill “An Act To Change the Name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day” (HP0142) (Presented by Representative COLLINGS of Portland) (Cosponsored by Senator CARPENTER of Aroostook, Representative GALGAY RECKITT of South Portland, Representative MAXMIN of Nobleboro, Representative PERRY of Calais, Representative RYKERSON of Kittery, Representative TALBOT ROSS of Portland, Representative O’CONNOR of Berwick, Representative CARDONE of Bangor)

Please reach out to show your support for finally denying this myth continued celebration.  The time has come to honor the first people of this land. Support LD 179 Change the Name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day

Pope Francis confirms priests’ abuse of nuns included “sexual slavery”

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Nuns have suffered and are still suffering sexual abuse at the hands of Catholic priests and bishops, and have even been held as sexual slaves, Pope Francis confirmed on Tuesday. The abuse was so severe in one case that an entire congregation of nuns was dissolved by former Pope Benedict.

The scope of the abuse of nuns by clergy members first came to light with the publication at the beginning of February of the monthly Vatican magazine “Women Church World.” The edition included Francis’ own take on the scandal — long known about by the Vatican but virtually never discussed — in which he blamed the unchecked power wielded by priests and higher clergy across the Catholic Church for such crimes.

An Associated Press journalist who first reported on the scandal last year asked Pope Francis on his flight home from the Arabian Peninsula on Tuesday whether enough was being done by the Church hierarchy to address the problem.

The pontiff conceded that it was a problem and said more action was needed. He insisted the will to confront the abuse is there, and stressed that the problem is not new, and that the Church has been working to address it for some time.

“It’s a path that we’ve been on. Pope Benedict had the courage to dissolve a female congregation which was at a certain level, because this slavery of women had entered it — slavery, even to the point of sexual slavery — on the part of clerics or the founder,” the pope conceded.

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Alessandro Gisotti, interim director of the Vatican press center, later confirmed to CBS News that the order of nuns dissolved under Benedict was the Community of St. Jean in France. The reason the order was dissolved had not previously been made public.

The Saint Jean order was dissolved in 2005, the first year Pope Benedict served as the head of the Church. He stepped down and Pope Francis took over as pontiff in 2013.

“I would like to underscore that he was a man who had the courage to do many things on this topic,” Pope Francis said of his predecessor on Tuesday.

The pope confirmed that the abuse of nuns was an ongoing problem, but said it was only in “certain congregations, predominantly new ones and in certain regions more than others.”

While the pontiff did not provide further detail on Tuesday, nuns in India and Chile, at least, have previously reported abuse at the hands of priests.

Francis told reporters on his flight that the Catholic Church,” shouldn’t be scandalized by this,” adding that “there are steps in a process,” and “we are working on it.”

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The Vatican’s new openness in discussing the abuse of nuns comes after years of revelations about clergy abusing children, mostly boys, in their congregations across the globe, and senior clergy members covering up those crimes.

On his last flight home from an international trip, just last week, Pope Francis warned that expectations for an upcoming landmark Vatican summit on clergy sexual abuse should be “deflated,” as the problem was unlikely to be resolved through it.

The pontiff’s move to lower expectations was likely a disappointment to many Catholics, particularly in the U.S. where the last year has seen a string of revelations about senior church leaders covering up abuse.

U.S. is staging an illegal coup in Venezuela

JANUARY 24, 2019
us_coup_venezuela.jpg

As President Trump announces that the U.S. will recognize opposition leader Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s new leader and sitting President Nicolás Maduro breaks off relations with the United States, we speak with a former U.N. independent expert who says the U.S. is staging an illegal coup in the country. Alfred de Zayas, who visited Venezuela as a U.N. representative in 2017, says, “The mainstream media has been complicit in this attempted coup. … This reminds us of the run-up to the Iraq invasion of 2003.” We also speak with Miguel Tinker Salas, professor at Pomona College and author of “The Enduring Legacy: Oil, Culture, and Society in Venezuela” and “Venezuela: What Everyone Needs to Know.”