Boston Archdiocese official charged with hiring prostitute

File under: How refreshingly heterosexual



By Melissa Hanson and Peter Schworm

An official of the Archdiocese of Boston pleaded not guilty today after he was allegedly found with a prostitute behind a cemetery.

Monsignor_Coyle_080513Monsignor Arthur Coyle, 62, of Lowell was arraigned this morning in Lowell District Court. He was ordered held on $500 cash bail and will return to court Sept. 16 for a pretrial conference, said Middlesex district attorney’s spokeswoman Stephanie Guyotte.

In a statement released this afternoon, the archdiocese said Coyle had voluntarily taken a leave of absence from his post as episcopal vicar for the Merrimack Region, a post he has held since 2008.

“While on administrative leave, Msgr. Coyle is prohibited from performing any public ministry,’’ the archdiocese said in the statement. “These restrictions will remain in place pending the outcome of the case. The steps taken today do not represent a determination of Msgr. Coyle’s guilt or innocence as it pertains to these charges.’’

The statement concluded with the sentence, “The Archdiocese asks for prayers for all impacted by this matter.’’

Coyle was arrested at 5:19 p.m. Sunday after he offered a prostitute money for sex, said Lowell Police Captain Kelly Richardson. In a report filed in court, police quoted Coyle as telling them that he had paid a woman working as a prostitute $40 for oral sex. Coyle told police the sex act had not been completed, the report said.

Police had spotted Coyle’s black Chevy Equinox and noticed he had a “known prostitute” in the passenger seat, the report said. After the vehicle parked behind the Polish Cemetery in Lowell, officers waited five minutes, then approached the vehicle and separated Coyle from the alleged prostitute, Siriwan Kongkaen, 38, police said in the report.

Coyle has been charged with paying a fee for sexual conduct.

According to the police report, Kongkaen has been arrested multiple times in the past for prostitution and narcotics-related offenses.

The report also said Coyle had been spotted in the past circling neighborhoods known for prostitution, noting, in particular, an incident in November. Police had seen Coyle in his Equinox circling the area of Linden Street by Union Street and stopped him. When police asked why he had been circling an area known for prostitution, he denied doing so and went home, the report said.

Coyle was ordained a priest in 1977 and appointed an episcopal vicar, a high-ranking official in the church, in 2008, according to the archdiocese’s website.

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Bishop apologises for abuse at Fort Augustus School

Here’s a tip:  when your apology includes words like, “mistakes were made,” instead of “we apologize for raping your children,” your apology is no apology at all.



One of Scotland’s most senior clerics has apologised for decades of physical and sexual abuse of pupils at a Catholic boarding school.


The Bishop of Aberdeen, Hugh Gilbert, addressed parishioners at Fort Augustus in the Highlands.

His statement came after the BBC found evidence of physical and sexual abuse by monks at Fort Augustus Abbey School and its prep school in East Lothian.

The Benedictine order which ran the schools, has already apologised.Fort Augustus Abbey

Bishop Gilbert’s address is the first time a senior cleric has spoken publicly about abuse at the abbey schools.

He told parishoners: “It is a most bitter, shaming and distressing thing that in this former abbey school a small number of baptised, consecrated and ordained Christian men physically or sexually abused those in their care.

“I know that Abbot Richard Yeo has offered an apology to those who have suffered such abuse and I join him in that.

“We are anxious that there be a thorough police investigation into all this. And, that all that can be done should be done for the victims. All of us must surely pray for those who have suffered.”

BBC Scotland Investigations Correspondent Mark Daly has more on the developments

BBC Scotland spoke to more than 50 former pupils during its six-month investigation.

Many said they had nothing but good memories of the schools, but the BBC also heard accounts from old boys of serious physical violence and sexual assault, including rape, by monks over a 30-year period.

BBC Scotland Investigates: Sins of Our Fathers, which aired on Monday, contained evidence against seven Fort Augustus monks.

Two headmasters have also been accused of covering-up the abuse.

And the documentary contained allegations that the abbey was used as a “dumping ground” for problem clergy who had confessed to abusing children.

Mark Daly, BBC Scotland’s investigations correspondent, who broke the story, said the apology was significant because it was the first time a senior clergyman had addressed the allegations since the programme went out almost a week ago.
Fort Augustus Abbey Fort Augustus Abbey School was one of the most prestigious Catholic boarding schools in Scotland

He said: “The allegations centred on monks from the Benedictine congregation, which is essentially an autonomous order within the Catholic Church.

“The Catholic Church had told us this was not a matter for them, it was a matter for the Benedictines.

“But the evidence we obtained about offences was that they all happened on Scottish soil, they happened to Scottish Catholics – they’re all part of the Catholic flock, as far as the victims are concerned.

“And from the victims’ point of view, they have been waiting for something from the senior clergy in the Church so today will have been something significant.”

Since the programme was broadcast, the BBC has been contacted by other former pupils with similar claims of abuse, right up until the boarding school closed in the 1990s. Police Scotland have confirmed they are investigating the allegations.
‘Annual audits’

Dom Richard Yeo, the Abbot President of the Benedictines order which ran the school, apologised on the programme and said mistakes were made.

“All I can say is that I’m sorry that it happened, it shouldn’t have happened,” he said.

The Catholic Church in Scotland has said it would publish details of its annual audits, which deal with abuse allegations dating back to 2006.

Bishop Gilbert said: “The Catholic Church in Scotland has been addressing this issue increasingly effectively in recent years.

“We want to work with all public bodies who care for the young and vulnerable adults.

“We wish to share our experience and share best practice so that lessons can be learned and children can always be fully protected.”

Complete Article HERE!

Reformist priest praises pope’s new tone but wants more

By Mary Wisniewski

An Austrian priest who has stirred controversy in Europe with his challenge to Catholic church teachings on taboo topics suggested on Wednesday that women should be allowed to become priests and said that gays need justice, not just mercy.

Father Helmut Schuller, who has been banned by American bishops from speaking in Catholic churches while on a tour of the United States that began in mid-July, welcomed recent remarks by Pope Francis on gay rights, but said discussion could go further.

Father Helmut SchüllerSchuller, in a telephone interview, said the pope’s words were a “good opener” and gay people seem to be happy there’s a friendlier tone from the church than in the past.

Schuller, leader of an Austrian priest group known for its “Call to Disobedience” challenging church teachings on taboo topics such as the ordination of women and priests marrying, has been drawing enthusiastic crowds during a 15-city U.S. tour that began in New York in mid-July and starts its West Coast leg on Wednesday.

The pope raised hopes of a softening of Catholic church opposition to gay rights when he spoke to reporters during his return from a visit to Brazil this week. Addressing the issue of gay clergy, Francis said, “Who am I to judge?” He also reaffirmed church teaching that homosexual acts are a sin.

Responding to the pope’s remarks, Schuller said, “I think it’s not only a question of mercy, but it also should be a question of justice to respect the gay people.”

On the issue of ordaining women, Francis had reaffirmed the church’s ban on women priests, saying, “That door is closed.”

But Schuller said the question is, “Who closed the door?” adding, “It is not possible to think the discussion should be finished.

“We should not only knock at the door but try to open it again,” Schuller said.

The Catholic church teaches that it cannot ordain women because Jesus willingly chose only men as his apostles. Advocates for women priests say he was only acting according to the customs of his times. Seventy percent of U.S. Catholics believe women should be allowed to be priests, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll earlier this year.

U.S. bishops, including Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Detroit Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron, have forbidden Schuller to speak on church property.

“Those who are not in harmony with Catholic church teachings in what they speak about should not be given a venue,” said Joe Kohn, spokesman for the Detroit archdiocese.

Schuller has been meeting privately with U.S. priests. Some priests and nuns were among the crowd of about 500 people who attended his public speech in Chicago last Wednesday.

Schuller said the “Call to Disobedience” arose out of a sense of “deep sorrow” among some Austrian priests, who feared that the worsening priest shortage would mean the end of parish communities. They feared a future of one priest serving as many as 20 parishes – offering Mass at one village before driving onto the next, unable to serve as a pastor to the people.

“We thought to speak out that this cannot be the future of the church,” Schuller said.

Last year, Austria’s church told the priests they could not support the manifesto, which had been criticized by former Pope Benedict XVI, and stay in administrative posts. The group, however, has won broad public backing in opinion polls for its pledge to break church rules by giving communion to Protestants and divorced Catholics who remarry.

Schuller said it is important for parish priests, many of whom are already quietly defying church doctrine by giving communion to divorced and remarried Catholics, to come out of the shadows.

“Don’t hide yourself in your parish communities,” Schuller said in his speech in Chicago. He said bishops know priests are defying doctrine at their parishes, but are comfortable about it because no one speaks out, so there seems to be no need for reform. “They got nervous when we spoke out.”

Schuller – who is from the Archdiocese of Vienna, the home of Sigmund Freud – said church leaders’ approach to dialogue is like “the man who goes to a psychoanalyst and says, ‘We can talk about everything, but not about my mother.'”

Dorothy Petraitis, 82, of Evanston, Illinois, who favors both married and women priests, told Schuller at his Chicago appearance that she is tired of waiting for the church to stop being a “dysfunctional family.”

“I want to be a member of a functioning church. That might mean I have to leave the church,” Petraitis said. “I don’t want to do that. Frankly, I’m a little pissed.”

“Please don’t leave the church,” said Schuller, who noted that he and his fellow rebel priests are often asked by conservatives why they don’t leave.

“We say the church is not a corporation for me. It’s not an apartment I have rented,” Schuller said. “We are church. It’s my church, and I want her to become changed.”

Complete Article HERE!

Holy smoke! Take the Catholic church gay art tour

With the Pope’s recent statements about homosexuality, the time is right for the Catholic church to take pride in its gay artists


By Jonathan Jones

The Pope has uttered some common sense words about homosexuality – and about time, too. While stopping well short of a full recognition of gay rights, his declaration that he does not “judge” is at least the start of a better approach by the Catholic church.



If Pope Francis wants to think more about this issue, he could do worse than take a tour of churches and galleries in Rome and the Vatican where, for centuries, gay artists have created the glories of the church.

In the Vatican museum he should contemplate Leonardo da Vinci’s St Jerome in the Desert. An ascetic sits in anguished thought in a rocky wilderness in this unfinished masterpiece. It is a great, introspectively spiritual work of religious art whose creator was well known for his love of young men. Leonardo surrounded himself with good-looking assistants and painted a subversively gay icon of male beauty, his bronzed Saint John the Baptist. When da Vinci was in his 20s, he was formally accused of sodomy.

Brooding on these facts, the Pope might walk into the Pauline Chapel, to look upon Michelangelo’s frescoes there. This chapel is in a private part of the Apostolic Palace not open to the public, but I don’t think the Pope would find entry difficult. There, looking at the suffering of the saints, he might consider how Michelangelo courageously expressed his love for men, even as he created some of the most eloquent art of the church.

Is there no escape from this issue? Remembering that some art historians deny the so-called “calumny” that Caravaggio and his clerical patrons were gay, perhaps the Pope might visit the Roman church of San Luigi dei Francesi to look on this master’s paintings of St Matthew. But the demons of desire cannot be suppressed. The naked male flesh in Caravaggio’s paintings tells its own story. By the time Caravaggio came to Rome in the 1590s, Leonardo and Michaelangelo – not to mention the aptly named Italian painter Il Sodoma – had already blazed a gay trail through the art of the Holy City. Caravaggio made art dangerous and exciting again by taking that homosexual impulse to new extremes.

The history of art is inseparable from the history of sexuality. Artists were adventurous characters in the past just as they are today. To make great art you have to take great risks. The Catholic church in its golden age knew this, and it commissioned the boldest and best, whatever the artist’s personal lives.

Perhaps the honesty of Pope Francis will renew art history, for pious timidity blunts understanding of great art. In particular, the myth that gay sex did not exist in the past, or was too risky, or could not be imagined, is nonsense. By the 18th century, gay clubs existed across Europe. The gay scene in Georgian London was intense. Is it really plausible that all this was going on in 1700 but unimaginable in Caravaggio’s Rome in 1600?

It is daft to deny the obvious homoeroticism of Leonardo or Caravaggio, and sophistry to claim that it’s irrelevant to their art. The British Museum is leading the way by drawing attention to the gay content of its collections. The Pope should urge the Vatican to do the same. Let the church take pride in its gay artists.

Complete Article HERE!