05/30/15

Catholic priest convicted of sexually assaulting sleeping woman on flight

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A Catholic priest from California was found guilty Friday of sexually assaulting a sleeping woman aboard a U.S. Airways flight.

Father Marcelo De Jesumaria was convicted of abusive sexual contact by a federal jury in a three-day trial after a female passenger woke up to find his “hands on her breast, groin and buttocks” in August, NBC Los Angeles reported.Father Marcelo De Jesumaria

The woman reported the assault to the crew of the Philadelphia-to-Los Angeles flight, allowing federal authorities to meet De Jesumaria at the gate.

De Jesumaria was indicted in October.

The Diocese of San Bernardino, where De Jesumaria used to work, said it removed him from the ministry “immediately” after learning of the allegations in November.

It’s the fifth-largest diocese in the country, covering a Catholic population of 1 million, according to their website.

“The Diocese of San Bernardino considers the actions alleged of Father De Jesumaria in the federal indictment to be sinful and unlawful,” according to a statement obtained by NBC Los Angeles. “We are deeply regretful of any harm that may have occurred as a result of his actions.”

The future of his priesthood will be determined by his Chicago-based religious order, the Congregation of the Resurrection, the diocese said.

De Jesumaria will be sentenced August 24 and faces up to two years in prison.
Complete Article HERE!

05/30/15

Ireland is worse than the pagans for legalising gay marriage, says senior cardinal

File under:  It’s all about the fancy dress

By Katherine Backler, Liz Dodd

Ireland has gone further than paganism and “defied God” by legalising gay marriage, one of the Church’s most senior cardinals has said.RL Burke in cappa2

Cardinal Raymond Burke, who was recently moved from a senior role in the Vatican to be patron of the Order of Malta, told the Newman Society, Oxford University’s Catholic Society, last night that he struggled to understand “any nation redefining marriage”.

Visibly moved, he went on: “I mean, this is a defiance of God. It’s just incredible. Pagans may have tolerated homosexual behaviours, they never dared to say this was marriage.”

A total of 1.2 million people voted in favour of amending the constitution to allow same-sex couples to marry, with 734,300 against the proposal, making Ireland the first country to introduce gay marriage by popular vote.

The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, told RTE afterwards that “the Church needs a reality check right across the board [and to ask] have we drifted away completely from young people?”

Raymond Cardinal Leo Burke visits the Oratory of Ss. Gregory and Augustine to celebrate Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament followed by a Reception. As Archbishop of St Louis, Cardinal Burke canonically established the Oratory on the first Sunday of AdveCardinal Burke, who speaking on the intellectual heritage of Pope Benedict XVI, went on to say “liturgical abuses” had taken place after the Second Vatican Council, after which he said there had been “a radical, even violent approach to liturgical reform”. Quoting Pope Benedict, he said that the desire among some of the faithful for the old form of the liturgy arose because the new missal was “actually understood as authorising, or even requiring, creativity, which frequently led to deformations of the liturgy which were hard to bear.”

On Tuesday Cardinal Burke presided over Mass at the Oxford Oratory, and on Wednesday he led Vespers and Benediction for the intentions of the Order of Malta.

Speaking at the lecture afterwards Cardinal Burke stressed the continuity between liturgical forms before and after the council. “The life of the Church is organic; it is a living tradition handed down in an unbroken line from the apostles,” he said. “It does not admit of discontinuity, of revolutions.”

Paraphrasing Pope Benedict, Cardinal Burke said that after the council, there had been a battle between a hermeneutic of Burke+Mass+9discontinuity and rupture, and the hermeneutic of reform. This was because the nature and authority of the council had been “basically misunderstood.” Apparently departing from his script, the Cardinal voiced his own concern about similar misunderstandings around the upcoming Synod. “There seems to be a certain element who think that the Synod has the capacity to create some totally new teaching in the Church, which is simply false.” He went on to speak of the damage caused by “an antinomianism which is inherent in the hermeneutic of discontinuity.”

Though the talk consisted primarily in an overview of Pope Benedict XVI’s chiefest intellectual contributions, Cardinal Burke adopted a more personal note in his answers to questions at the end. Responding to a question about the marginalisation of faith in the public sphere, he stressed the primary importance of fortifying the family in its understanding of how faith “illumines daily living”. ‘The culture is thoroughly corrupted, if I may say so, and the children are being exposed to this, especially through the internet.’

He told the audience that he was “constantly” telling his nieces and nephews to keep their family computers in public areas of the house so that their children would not “imbibe this poison that’s out there.”
Complete Article HERE!

05/29/15

Priest removed from Seton Hall breaks his silence, comes out publicly as gay

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Warren Hall was recently removed from Seton Hall for the perception that he was supporting same-sex marriage.

Warren Hall was removed from his post at Seton Hall after he posted a Facebook message supporting the anti-bullying message of the NOH8 campaign. Now he opens up for the first time since his removal, coming out publicly as gay.

Just before graduation last year, campus priest Warren Hall was walking across Seton Hall’s grounds sipping some coffee when a student ran up to him. The student thanked Hall for his tutelage and posed a question he hadn’t heard before.

“Are you gay?”

Hall nearly dropped his coffee cup. She reminded him that he had always taught his students to be honest with themselves and others about who they are. But he had never been asked about his sexual orientation by anyone at Seton Hall. He couldn’t let slip away the opportunity to walk his talk. He nodded his head.

“That student was right,” Hall said. “I have to be myself. I can’t worry what other people think.”

It wasn’t because of his sexual orientation that Hall posted a Facebook message supporting the pro-LGBT NOH8 Campaign last autumn. It was in the middle of a growingly intense national conversation about race that he posted the message, focusing mostly on the idea of opposing race-based hate. A month later his boss asked for a meeting. In the meeting he was ordered to explain the Facebook post.

“Warren, we can’t have this.”

The church was against same-sex marriage, his superior explained, and they couldn’t have priests supporting an organization that was designed to promote marriage equality (the NOH8 campaign rose from the 2008 California vote ending same-sex marriage). Hall provided the context – that he posted it as a commentary on bullying and hate focusing on race and other demographics; Support for same-sex marriage wasn’t intended as part of his message. The next day the vicar general asked to meet with Hall, and again he explained the photo. That seemed to quell the furor.

It wasn’t until five months later – last Monday as he was administering an exam to his sports and spirituality class – that he received a note to call the Archbishop.

“None of us want bullying,” the Archbishop told him, “but you have a further agenda here, and I can’t have you at Seton Hall because of that.”

He was devastated. His position at Seton Hall had lifted him out of a bad situation when he was the president of a private high school years earlier. He had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol, and the local media and others in the community pushed him out of the job. The church had refused to abandon him despite his dangerous transgression. The Archbishop gave him a second chance at Seton Hall.

Yet the same Archdiocese that had stood by him after his DUI felt the possibility of simply being perceived as supporting same-sex marriage went too far.

This wasn’t the tradition of Christian universities he knew. For Hall, Catholic schools had for centuries signified a willingness to learn, places to exchange ideas and enhance intellect. Shutting down conversation because the Pope or Archbishop didn’t like the direction of the conversation? That is not Hall’s understanding of a Catholic university.

“Let’s discuss gay marriage as an anthropological and sociological issue. What’s wrong with that? Why can’t we talk about that? We’re a better place when we have people who have studied these issues. The idea that ‘we can’t talk about that’ makes no sense. If the students want to talk about that, let’s talk about it with them. When we say we can’t talk about something, that goes against he very nature of what a Catholic university is. That conversation should happen here with the students and the faculty, not firing somebody because of their view on an issue.”

His image of Seton Hall shattered, he took to social media. He had thought about staying quiet, sweeping under the vestments the real reason for his departure from the campus he had grown to appreciate and the students he had grown to love.

“I was going to to say I chose to leave, or that my time here was finished,” Hall said. “But that wasn’t true. It wasn’t. I’ve never lied to a student about anything. I couldn’t lie about this.”

It wasn’t 48 hours before Hall got wind of another move made by Seton Hall – the signing of openly gay shooting guard Derrick Gordon to the men’s basketball team. In his role as director of the campus ministry, Hall has ministered to various Pirates sports teams. He didn’t just sit on the bench during games or offer a pre-game prayer, he worked with the athletes creating retreats for them where he could engage them on a deeper spiritual level. He explored the ties between faith and athleticism, teaching classes on sports and Christianity like the one he was instructing when he got that fateful note two weeks ago.

Being removed from this role on campus has brought a sense of irony for Hall.

“I’ve been accused of being against he Catholic mission, and here I thought I was supporting it.”

Hall said he has spoken to many LGBT students at Seton Hall, and not one of them reports being mistreated by any of the students or faculty. He thinks Gordon will experience the same treatment from most of the campus.

“With Derrick Gordon going to Seton Hall as an openly gay athlete, I don’t think he’ll have trouble here with the student body or with the faculty,” Hall said. “How the administration handles that, I do not know. When he’s walking across campus holding hands with his boyfriend, what is the administration going to think of that? But the student body here is very open and welcoming.”

Hall isn’t sure what’s next for him. He has written to the Archbishop asking for a six-month sabbatical. He had no prior indication that a big change might be coming his way, so he would like some time to think about his next big move within the church before being reassigned. Whether he gets that time before another official assignment is entirely up to the Archbishop.

I ended my phone interview with Hall by circling back to his story about the student who asked him if he was gay. While he had professed and reiterated his commitments to the church (priests, after all, make a commitment to celibacy), He wasn’t “out” in a public sense. A select few knew, but telling me was very different from telling a student shortly before she embarked on her life’s journey.

“The best way to live is to live honestly. Honesty with oneself is the most important thing, but you have to be honest with other people.

“I’m not afraid of those questions anymore.”

Complete Article HERE!

05/20/15

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin: ‘I encourage everyone to vote and to reflect carefully’

 ‘My position is that of Pope Francis, who . . . made it very clear that he was against legalising same-sex marriage, yet he was consistent in telling people not to make judgments on any individual’

Diarmuid Martin

05/17/15

Police search St. John’s Abbey for Hoefgen files

By David Unze

An investigator from the Hastings Police Department served a search warrant last week at St. John’s Abbey in connection with the prosecution of former abbey monk Fran Hoefgen.Fran Hoefgen

The investigator was seeking abbey personnel records on Hoefgen, who is accused of abusing an altar boy between 1989 and 1992 when Hoefgen was a priest at a Hastings church.

Hoefgen, 64, is scheduled to stand trial beginning Monday in Dakota County.

The investigator requested the same files from the attorney representing Hoefgen but received copies from which certain documents removed because they were “personal, private or privileged,” according to the search warrant filed in Stearns County District Court.

Investigator Christopher Nelson then sought the warrant to get from the abbey the “complete, original, unredacted personnel, personal, historical, incident” and any other files related to Hoefgen for “evidence related to the alleged incidents of sexual assault,” according to the warrant.

The warrant’s inventory receipt, which shows what investigators collected during the search, shows Nelson left with seven file folders. Five of the folders had Hoefgen’s name on them and were listed as personnel records and canonical and personal files.

Hoefgen was accused of abusing the altar boy when the boy was 9 to 12 years old.Hastings police were first notified in November 2013.

Hoefgen was laicized in December 2011. That is a process in which a cleric is made a layperson.

Hoefgen had been placed on restriction by St. John’s Abbey in 2002 after it received credible allegations against him of sexual misconduct.

He was a St. John’s Abbey monk assigned as priest to the St. Boniface parish in Cold Spring when, in 1983, he sexually abused a 17-year-old boy who was living with him temporarily at the parish residence.

Hoefgen was interviewed by police and admitted the abuse. Within days Hoefgen was sent by the abbey to St. Luke Institute in Maryland, where he spent six months for evaluation and treatment.

He never was charged in Stearns County related to that abuse.

Hoefgen, after his stay at St. Luke Institute, was assigned by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis to St. Boniface parish in Hastings. Hoefgen served there from 1985-1992, during which time he abused the victim that led to the criminal charges, according to court documents.

Months after the abbey announced in 2002 that Hoefgen was facing restrictions, he remained the guest master of the St. John’s Abbey guest house. The guest house accepts all who want shelter in its quiet environment among the wooded St. John’s terrain.

In the year in which Hoefgen was guest master, the abbey guest house took in 1,200 guests from 40 states and 14 countries.

Abbot John Klassen removed Hoefgen as guest master after reports in the Times about Hoefgen’s past activities and the fact that he was supposed to be prevented from having access to children.

Klassen at the same time removed the Rev. Allan Tarlton as director of the abbey’s Oblate program. Tarlton was assistant guest master at the guest house.

He was involved in a recent settlement of a lawsuit accusing him of sexual abuse. As part of that court process, a document surfaced that was a biographical text written by Tarlton in which he admitted sexually abusing boys.
Complete Article HERE!