Top US cleric, who slammed Irish leader Varadkar for being gay, arrested

New York’s Father George Rutler’s St. Patrick’s Day missive made for interesting reading.

A previously celebrated New York pastor, Fr George Rutler has been arrested for sexual assault, having also been filmed watching gay porn.

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A leading United States Catholic church figure, who has slammed the Irish government’s Deputy Leader Leo Varadkar for being gay, attacked Irish clergy as weak, and dismissed decades of sex abuse scandals in Ireland’s Catholic Church as “peripheral”, is being investigated for sexual assault, after a church worker allegedly filmed him watching gay pornography.

Father George Rutler had made the comments about Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar, in March 2019, on EWTN, the global Catholic network, and slammed Ireland’s then-leader for “publicly living in perverse contempt for the sacrament of holy matrimony.”

When asked at the time about his comments by IrishCentral, Father Rutler agreed that he was speaking specifically about Vardkar’s sexual orientation and the fact that he may well marry his partner, Dr. Matthew Barrett.

Father Rutler, who is pastor of the Church of St. Michael in Manhattan and a conservative icon and author of 30 books, has stepped down while the allegations are being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney. The Archdiocese of New York has confirmed he is no longer in ministry while the charges are being investigated.

The accusation comes from Ashley Gonzalez, a 22-year-old security guard who had just been hired as an overnight security guard by Rutler.

She alleges that on Nov 4, at around 1.20 am, Rutler forcibly groped her, after she had filmed him late at night watching hardcore homosexual pornography on an office computer in the church rectory. The incident took place during Gonzalez’s second night on the job.

According to Gonzalez, she was sitting in the rectory texting her mother when Rutler came in.

She claims he sat down at the computer and watched a political program before switching over to gay pornography.

In the video, the person Gonzalez identifies as Rutler is sitting at a desk in the office decorated with religious icons while watching gay porn. Gonzalez claims she tried to leave the office after Rutler saw her filming him and that he grabbed her chest and slammed the door on her hand as she tried to escape. She filed sexual assault allegations the next day.

Father Rutler is a superstar in conservative circles. Columnist Rod Dreher of the American Conservative stated:

“People outside the Catholic world may not be aware that George Rutler is one of the most famous conservative priests in the country. He has been a staple on EWTN, the Catholic channel, for many years. He is a powerful homilist and presents himself as a flinty arch-conservative who suffers no fools gladly. “

Dreher says Rutler’s time as a priest is over if he is convicted. Rutler was once an Episcopal priest who was accepted into the Catholic Church.

Rutler is an arch critic of Ireland, both its political and religious leaders. Writing in 2019 he stated, “The Taoiseach (Prime Minister), was elected while publicly living in perverse contempt of the sacrament of Holy Matrimony. The chief seminary of Maynooth has the lowest numbers of students since its foundation in 1795. Its rector of fifteen years abandoned the Faith and now conducts an esoteric cult in Arizona… An Irish commentator and playwright recently called Ireland ‘The Most Anti-Catholic Country on Planet Earth.'”

The Manhattan DA’s office refused to comment on the investigation.

Complete Article HERE!

Man hands out photos of gay Catholic teacher’s family in attempt to get her fired

St. Thomas University rallied behind teacher and rejected man’s “hateful” message

Dr. Kelly Wilson and St. Thomas University

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A lesbian professor at a Catholic university was targeted by a man who handed out photos of her family on campus in an attempt to get her fired.

The man was protesting the employment of Dr. Kelly Wilson, a professor in the theology department at the University of St. Thomas, a private, Roman Catholic university in St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minn.

The photos distributed by the man, who hasn’t been identified, showed Wilson with her family and children.

But his plan backfired after the university rallied behind Wilson and said it rejected the man’s “hateful message,” KARE 11 reports.

Wilson said that in seven years her sexuality had never “come up” while working at St. Thomas.

“This isn’t new to me that I would get some pushback from some people I just never know or knew it would include a picture of my kids as evidence of why I should be fired,” Wilson said.

She learned of the protest after campus security called her to report the man adding that security was

concerned that “this was the first time he has targeted an individual and used a picture of their family.”

Wilson said that she received support from across the campus, including students, faculty, and leaders.

In a statement, the University of St. Thomas affirmed its support of Wilson and said that the man was banned from the school’s campus.

“This man has a history of criticizing St. Thomas employees. He is not allowed on campus, but we are limited in how we can respond to him when he is on public property. When we found out about this latest incident, we reached out to offer our full support to Dr. Wilson,” they said.

“We also sent a university-wide communication rejecting this man’s hateful message and reaffirming our commitment to an inclusive environment for our LGBTQA+ community members. This is consistent with Catholic teaching, which calls on us to love and care for every person. As Pope Francis reminds us, ‘God has created all human beings equal in rights, duties and dignity.’”

In addition to support from colleagues, Wilson used publicity from the man’s protest to raise funds for Dignity Twin Cities, an LGBTQ Catholic organization.

“I just thought the best way to respond to someone like this is to support those systems that he’s trying to break down,” she said.

Wilson added: “You don’t have pick being gay or Catholic, it’s not either or moments or decisions what it is I believe I am being my authentic self, I believe that is what my church asks me to do what the scriptures ask me to do and what God expects of me, and this is my home is the Catholic Church.”

As well as raising funds. Wilson and a colleague also extended an invitation to Father James Martin — a Jesuit priest, New York Times bestselling author, and advocate for greater LGBTQ outreach by the Church — to come and speak to LGBTQ Catholics at St. Thomas.

Martin accepted, telling KARE 11 that the Church “teaches that LGBT people are to be treated with respect, compassion and sensitivity.”

He also slammed the man who protested Wilson’s employment at a Catholic university, calling it “cruel” to have passed out images of Wilson’s children.

“That is certainly something not part of Catholic teaching, not part of the Christian world and not what Jesus asked us to do,” he said. “Sometimes I like to say that these people are so Catholic, these protestors, that they forget about being Christian.”

Complete Article HERE!

Priest describes senior Vatican Cardinal’s comments as ‘like Trump’

Fr Tony Flannery, a co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests, said there are “polarised positions” in the Church and in the Vatican itself on possible reform

By Noel Baker

A Redemptorist priest who has been suspended from active ministry for the past eight years has described comments by a senior Vatican Cardinal as “like Trump” amid a deepening row over potential reforms in the Catholic Church.

Fr Tony Flannery, a co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests and an advocate of the ordination of women priests, made his comments after a report this week in the National Catholic Reporter quoted Cardinal Luis Ladaria of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) as saying it had done “everything possible” to come to some type of resolution with him, but this had been unsuccessful.

In the same article, Cardinal Ladaria defended his office’s request that Fr Flannery sign four strict oaths of fidelity to Catholic teaching, saying while this was “very unpleasant”, it was required to maintain fealty to Church guidelines.

The Cardinal was quoted as saying: “We have tried always to maintain our respect towards Fr Flannery, but the duty that we have, according to the arrangement of the church, is to protect the faith and therefore to indicate some things that do not conform with this faith.”

Fr Flannery, 73, had said that unless he signed the oaths he had been informed he should not return to public ministry.

The row has now deepened, with the ACP tweeting a link to the NCR article and stating it is “very disturbed” by the comments as to the nature of the engagement with Fr Flannery.

It said if the report had quoted the Cardinal accurately “then it must be said, that he is misleading Catholics and the public. This is disturbing.”

Fr Flannery himself tweeted on Tuesday night “Ladaria is a Jesuit; he knows what ‘dialogue’ entails. He must know this statement is false. This has upset me this evening”.

He told the Irish Examiner he has no intention of leaving the priesthood or the Redemptorists, but could not rule out the possibility that he might be fired.

He said in eight years he had had no direct correspondence from the CDF and so the Cardinal’s assertion to the contrary was, in his view, “totally false”.

“The only thing I can compare that to is Trump,” he said, adding that what was said is “clearly contrary to all the evidence”.

Fr Flannery said there are “polarised positions” in the Church and in the Vatican itself on possible reform, but that the recent issue over the oaths of fidelity “in tone and content is like something from the 19th century”.

“To some extent this is like the end of the road in dealing with the Vatican,” he said.

In a comprehensive statement issued earlier on his website by way of response to the comments made by the Cardinal, Fr Flannery said the CDF under Cardinal Ladaria or his two predecessors “never communicated directly with me”.

“How do you dialogue with someone when you won’t speak to them?” he asked.

He said he was “totally unaware” of any other discussions held at a higher level and added: “All I ever got were demands for statements and signatures, and lists of punishments meted out to me. In fact the very first I knew of the whole process was, in 2012, when I was presented with two documents, outlining my ‘heretical’ writings, and the sentence being imposed. And the Cardinal says they have done everything to dialogue with me.”

Complete Article HERE!

Fr Tony Flannery rejects Vatican offer to restore ministry for silence, submission on teaching

‘I could not possibly have any more dealings with a body that produces such a document’

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Banned Redemptorist priest Fr Tony Flannery (73) has declined a Vatican offer of a return to ministry if he promised silence and and signed statements on church teachings.

The offer made by Rome in July would have involved signing documentsasserting church teaching on women priests, homosexuality, same sex marriage, and gender theory

Co-founder of the Association of Catholic Priests, Fr Flannery was suspended in 2012 from public ministry by the Vatican for publicly expressing support for women’s ordination and same sex marriage as well as more liberal views on homosexuality.

Last February the Redemptorists’ Superior General in Rome Michael Brehl wrote to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) making representations for Fr Flannery’s return to public ministry. It , in turn, followed correspondence with him last year by the Redemptorists’ leadership in Ireland.

They did so as, under the leadership of Pope Francis, issues such as the equality and ordination of women are now freely discussed in the Church as is a more compassionate and nuanced approach to homosexuality.

The CDF responded that “Fr Flannery should not return to public ministry prior to submitting a signed statement regarding his positions on homosexuality, civil unions between persons of the same sex, and the admission of women to the priesthood.”

It said “the Irish Provincial should ask Fr Flannery to give his assent to the statement by providing his signature in each of the places indicated (enclosure).” This latter referred to separate statements asserting church teaching in each relevant area with space for Fr Flannery to sign his assent.

The CDF response continued: “After the statement is signed and received, a gradual readmission of Fr Flannery to the exercise of public ministry will be possible by way of an agreement with this Congregation. Furthermore, given the fact that he has stated numerous times that he is not a theologian, he should be asked to not speak publically on the above-mentioned topics which have caused problems in the past.”

As well as signing separate statements on each issue, Fr Flannery was also asked to sign an additional paragraph which stated “I, Fr Tony Flannery C.Ss.R, submit to all of the above doctrinal propositions given by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as they pertain to the Church’s teaching on the: 1. Reservation of the sacred priesthood to men alone; 2. The moral liceity of homosexual practices; 3. The legal recognition of marriage between persons of the same sex; and 4. ‘Gender Theory’.”

Responding to the CDF document, Fr Flannery said he was “not surprised, but disappointed and saddened” by it. “In my view it is a document that, both in tone and content, would be more at home in the 19th century. I could not possibly sign those propositions.”

The issue of equality, and ordination, of women “is now freely discussed in the Church,” he said, and that he was “on record for many years now in supporting, indeed emphasizing the necessity, of full equality for women, including ordination. How could I possibly sign that first proposition.”

The same applied to “ official Church language on homosexuality and homosexual relationships,” which he described as “appalling. I could not submit to it. As regards same sex marriage, I voted in favour of it. I don’t know enough about Gender Theory to have any strong views on it, and I don’t know where that one came from.”

He felt this was “the end of the line in terms of priestly ministry for me. I could not possibly have any more dealings with a body that produces such a document. Life is too short – especially at 73”.

Next month Fr Flannery’s latest book ‘From the Outside; Rethinking Church Doctrine’ will be published.

Complete Article HERE!

Ukrainian Orthodox Church leader Patriarch Filaret contracts coronavirus after blaming gays for the virus

A prominent 91-year-old Ukrainian religious leader who blamed gay people for the COVID-19 pandemic has contracted the disease.

Patriarch Filaret

By Lexie Cartwright

Leading Ukrainian religious figure Patriarch Filaret has contracted coronavirus, after blaming gay people for the disease.

The 91-year-old, who is the Patriarch of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kiev Patriarchate, is currently in a stable condition being treated in hospital, with Ukrainian website 11.2 international also reporting he has pneumonia.

Filaret’s church, which is said to have more than 15 million followers among Ukraine’s 42 million population, confirmed the COVID-19 diagnosis in a Facebook post.

“We inform that during planned testing, His Holiness Patriarch Filaret of Kiev and All Rus-Ukraine tested positive for COVID-19,” the statement said. “Now His Holiness Bishop is undergoing treatment at a hospital.”

Filaret caused controversy earlier this year after he made comments about the coronavirus being a result of gay marriage.

He told Ukrainian national TV network Channel 4 in March that the pandemic was “God’s punishment for the sins of men, the sinfulness of humanity”.

“First of all, I mean same-sex marriage,” Filaret added.

Kiev-based LGBTQ+ group Insight announced in April it was taking legal action against Filaret, saying his comments were damaging for the gay and lesbian community.

“Our aim is to show people that there is no longer place for such statements from church leaders in Ukraine,” Insight’s head Olena Shevchenko told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Filaret was joined by a chorus of other prominent religious figures around the world who believe the coronavirus is “divine intervention” in response to the emergence of gay and lesbian rights.

The World Health Organisation has since urged against the spread of such misinformation, saying in a statement that these beliefs spark “stigmatisation and discrimination”.

But Filaret doubled down on his comments, with representatives for the Patriarch saying his views were “consistent with Ukrainian laws”.

Homophobia is still rife in the Ukraine, with same-sex marriage being illegal.

The Ukrainian Parliament refused to back a Council of Europe human rights treaty aimed at protecting women from domestic violence in 2016, because its references to sexual orientation and gender violated what politicians believed were basic “Christian values”.

Complete Article HERE!