Australian Church Catches Hell After Introducing Electronic Collection Plates

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney turned people off with a $10 minimum.

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia.

By Andy McDonald

St. Mary’s Cathedral in Australia is taking heat for implementing a “tap and go” collection plate. Similar to what you would see at a McDonald’s, these devices allow patrons ― or in this case, parishoners ― to tap their chip-enabled credit cards and pay a certain amount.

The Roman Catholic cathedral in Sydney announced the moved on its Facebook page, but the outcry was so swift that the post was deleted soon after ― though, as always, someone took a screenshot.

“Multiple payments of $10 can be made by tapping your card once with several seconds in between each transaction,” St. Mary’s said in the post.

Multiple payments! The response was certainly not all negative, and seemed more focused on the minimum donation being set at $10.

“If you had made it [a] $2 minimum we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation,” said one Facebook user.

“I hate it when I turn up to mass and realise I don’t have any cash,” another user said in support. “I would love this option at my parish.”

St. Mary’s followed up on the outcry by thanking those who made “rational and coherent comments” about the new collection plates.

St. Mary’s did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic Church must face reality

Scandal rocks the church, and wrongly it still opposes ordaining women as priests.

Pope Francis greets the crowds in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican in July.

By Roy Bourgeois

As a Catholic priest, I did the unspeakable. I called for the ordination of women. The Vatican’s response was swift. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith informed me that I was “causing grave scandal” in the church, and that I had 30 days to recant my support for the ordination of women or be expelled from the priesthood.

I told the Vatican that was not possible. Believing that women and men are created of equal worth and dignity, and that both are called by an all-loving God to serve as priests, my conscience would not allow me to recant. In my response, I also made clear that when Catholics hear the word “scandal,” many think about the thousands of children who have been raped and abused by Catholic priests — not about the ordination of women.

In 2010, the Vatican called women’s ordination a crime comparable to sexual abuse of children. Judging from its actions, however, it would appear that the Vatican views women’s ordination as a crime more serious than child abuse. Among the thousands of priests who raped and sexually abused children, the vast majority were not expelled from the priesthood or excommunicated. But the Vatican has excommunicated every woman ordained to the Catholic priesthood.

And in November 2012, after serving as a Catholic priest with the Maryknoll order for 40 years, I was expelled from the priesthood for refusing to recant my support for the ordination of women.

Today, scandal again rocks the Catholic Church. This time, it’s six Catholic dioceses in Pennsylvania. According to a grand jury report, beginning in the 1950s, more than 300 “predator priests” sexually abused more than 1,000 children.

The 1,400-page report, written by 23 grand jurors over the course of two years, said, “Priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing; they hid it all. For decades.” Among the horrific crimes that Catholic priests committed:

  • In the Pittsburgh diocese, “a ring of predatory priests shared information regarding victims, as well as exchanging the victims among themselves. The ring manufactured child pornography and used whips, violence and sadism in raping the victims.”
  • One priest abused five sisters in the same family, including one girl beginning when she was 18 months old.
  • Another priest was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.
  • A priest raped a 7-year-old girl in her hospital room after a tonsillectomy. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reviewed his crime and decided that he should remain a priest and “live a life of prayer and penance.”

The Pennsylvania grand jury report concluded that the Catholic hierarchy “protected the institution at all cost and maintained strategies to avoid scandal.” Priests who got into trouble were shuffled to another diocese where more children were abused. The FBI determined that church officials followed a “playbook for concealing the truth,” minimizing the abuse by using words like “inappropriate contact” or “boundary issues” instead of “rape.”

If the Catholic Church had women priests, the church would not be in the crisis it is in today. I am equally confident that if the Catholic Church does not dismantle its all-male priesthood and welcome women as equals, it will drift into irrelevance.

Complete Article HERE!

‘Shocking’ sexual abuse of children by German clergy detailed in report

Minister warns abuse of 3,677 children by about 1,670 clerics may be ‘tip of the iceberg’ for Catholic church

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A “shocking” report into the sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy in Germany is “probably only the tip of the iceberg”, the country’s justice minister has said.

The German Catholic church presented the results of an investigation into decades of sexual abuse of children on Tuesday afternoon. The report details the cases of 3,677 children, the majority of whom are male, who were sexually abused between 1946 and 2014. About 1,670 clerics, mainly priests, are implicated.

The justice minister, Katarina Barley, encouraged the church to work with the judicial system to bring as many cases as possible to court.

Ahead of the report’s official release at the German bishops’ conference in Fulda, the head of the German church, Reinhard Marx, said it urgently needed to rebuild trust with churchgoers and the public. “Many people don’t believe in us any longer,” he said, calling the report a “decisive, important turning point for the Catholic church in Germany – and not only in Germany”.

Marx said he felt ashamed and wanted to apologise to the victims.

The report’s release coincided with an acknowledgement by Pope Francis that people were being driven away from the church by the many abuse scandals and cover-ups, including most recently in the US and Chile.

On a recent visit to Ireland, while the issue of sexual abuse dominated the agenda, the pope was accused of failing to address victims’ concerns adequately.

Although Tuesday’s report – details of which were leaked earlier this month – was the biggest of its kind for the German Catholic church, its main author was critical of faith leaders for having denied him access to other Catholic institutions, including children’s homes and schools.

He detailed how 60% of abusive priests eluded punishment, and how many were systematically moved to other parishes in the hope their crimes could be hushed up.

The government-appointed envoy for sexual abuse of children, Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, urged the church to pay compensation to the victims. He also said it should give state authorities access to its archives to allow state prosecutors to examine every allegation.

The first case of sexual abuse in the Catholic church in Germany was uncovered about 10 years ago. Critics say the church has not done enough to prevent further clerical abuse.

Church leaders are under pressure to announce reforms before the end of the four-day conference on Thursday.

The report was compiled using data collected from 27 German dioceses, and included 38,000 mostly anonymous documents. But the authors, who were appointed by the church and spent four years working on the report, said they were not allowed access to any original files from the church’s own archives and that the files from at least two dioceses had been manipulated or destroyed.

Christian Pfeiffer, a criminologist tasked with carrying out the study in 2011, said the church had made itself “untrustworthy” by not allowing full access to its archives. He has complained about alleged censorship and a lack of transparency on the part of the church.

Matthias Katsch, the co-founder of Eckigen Tisch, a pressure group representing victims, who oversaw the compilation of the study as an adviser, said while some bishoprics had cooperated thoroughly, others had not. “The academics involved worked to the best of their ability with a lack of resources, to extract something out of the available information,” he told Der Spiegel.

The study found that more than half of the victims had been younger than 13 the first time they were abused, and that 83% of attacks were planned, taking place most commonly in the private or service flats of those carrying out the abuse.

On average, the abuses happened multiple times over a period of at least 15 months.

Almost 1,000 of the victims were altar boys. Every sixth attack involved rape.

Among the well-documented scandals that have rocked the church in Germany is the systematic abuse of pupils by two priests at the fee-paying Jesuit school Canisius in Berlin in the 1970s and 80s, and the sexual and physical abuse suffered by more than 500 choir boys at the Regensburger Domspatzen school in Regensburg, Bavaria. The choir was led by Georg Ratzinger – the brother of the former Pope Benedict XVI – for 30 years until 1994, but he denied knowing about any abuse.

Complete Article HERE!

Avondale pastor Paul Kalchik, who burned LGBTQ banner, ousted


 
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A Catholic pastor who who burned an LGBTQ banner outside his Avondale neighborhood church has been removed.

Paul Kalchik, formerly of Resurrection Catholic Church, burned the flag last week along with a small group of parishioners. The flag had once hung inside the sanctuary and Kalchik called the burning an “exorcism.”

Rev. Paul Kalchik burned this LGBTQ-friendly banner on church grounds last week, against the order of Cardinal Blase Cupich.

Protesters called for his removal earlier this week, holding signs that said “hate is not holy.”

A letter signed by Cardinal Blasé Cupich and dated Sept. 21, said, in part:
“For some weeks now, I have become increasingly concerned about a number of issues at Resurrection Parish. It has become clear to me that Fr. Kalchik must take time away from the parish to receive pastoral support so his needs can be assessed. … I do not take this step lightly. Rather, I act out of concern for Fr Kalchik’s welfare and that of the people of Resurrection Parish. I have a responsibility to be supportive of our priests when they have difficulties, but I also have a duty to ensure that those who serve our faithful are fully able to minister to them in the way the Church expects.”

News of his removal, by the archdiocese was delivered at Saturday’s afternoon Mass.

Rev. Paul Kalchik

“I was sitting there and the priest who was giving mass got up to give the sermon and said in lieu of a sermon, I have a letter from Cardinal Cupich,” said Rick Garcia, who is both a devout Catholic and an LGBTQ activist.

Garcia, who refrained from criticizing Kalchik, praised Cupich. “Our cardinal did two things. He stood with gay and lesbian people and he made sure that one of his priests gets the necessary help that he needs. My heart overflows for that.”

In response to the removal, Ald. Deb Mell (33rd Ward) said: “In situations like this, there is no other recourse. It’s just better to get it done. We hope Father Paul gets the help he needs and we wish him well.”

Msgr. James Kaczorowski, Pastor of Queen of Angels Parish and Dean, was appointed as administrator of Resurrection Parish, effective Friday, the letter said.

Complete Article HERE!

LGBTQ activists decry flag-burning priest: ‘No idea this hate was in his heart’

Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) speaks at a demonstration across the street from Resurrection Catholic Church on Wednesday, days after the Rev. Paul Kalchik burned a rainbow-cross flag on church grounds.

By Mitchell Armentrout

Two dozen LGBTQ activists rallied Wednesday night outside the Avondale church where a priest burned a rainbow flag last week against the orders of Cardinal Blase Cupich.

Calling the Rev. Paul Kalchik’s Sept. 14 flag-burning at Resurrection Catholic Church a “hate crime plain and simple,” Ald. Deb Mell (33rd) called on Pope Francis and Cupich “to send this hateful bigot packing.”

“I had no idea that this hate was in his heart for our community,” Mell said, noting she’s in regular contact with Kalchik about parking and community issues. “We know each other well. … I take it very personally, and it’s very hurtful.

“We’ve come so far as an LGBTQ community, and we have so many things to celebrate, and to think that this hatred is being spread in our neighborhood is not acceptable,” she said. “This isn’t who we are . . . LGBTQ families are a fabric of our neighborhood.”

Rev. Paul Kalchik burned this LGBTQ-friendly banner on church grounds last week, against the order of Cardinal Blase Cupich.

Mell said she was “encouraged” by Cupich telling Kalchik not to go forward with his plans announced Sept. 2 to burn the flag, which featured a rainbow cascading down over a cross. But she and other protesters called for the priest’s removal.

Rev. Paul Kalchik (Me thinks she doth protest too much.)

Kalchik did not return messages seeking comment before or after celebrating Mass on Wednesday.

Archdiocese of Chicago spokeswoman Anne Maselli on Wednesday issued the same statement as a day earlier when news of the flag-burning gained momentum, saying “we are following up on the situation. As Catholics, we affirm the dignity of all persons.”

After the rally, a parishioner who have his name only as Patrick said he supported Kalchik and insisted the priest is a supporter of the LGBTQ community.

“The flag that he burnt was . . . meant for evil things,” he said. “It brought prey to predators. And we’re anti-predator priests.”

The man said reactions were mixed among parishioners.

“Some people are for it, some people don’t know what to think. It’s all over the board.”

Kalchik, 56, told the Chicago Sun-Times during an interview on Tuesday that the flag was forgotten in church storage for over a decade before he found it while cleaning last month. According to the priest, it was put on display for a few years after the St. Veronica and St. Francis parishes were merged to become Resurrection Parish in 1991.

The rainbow-cross banner is pictured on display during a 1991 Mass at Resurrection Parish.

Kalchik claimed three “bad priests” who preceded him at the church at 3043 N. Francisco were “big in promoting the gay lifestyle” before Cardinal Francis George ordained him as pastor there in 2007.

After the Windy City Times reported on Kalchik’s plan to burn the flag, the Archdiocese of Chicago told him “he could not move forward,” Maselli said.

But Kalchik went ahead and burned the flag “in a quiet way” during a closed ceremony on church grounds with seven parishioners on Friday, he said — without the knowledge of the archdiocese, Maselli said.

“What have we done wrong other than destroy a piece of propaganda that was used to put out a message other than what the church is about?” Kalchik said in his office on Tuesday. “The people of this parish have been pretty resilient and put up with a lot of B.S.”

Kalchik — who says he was sexually abused by a neighbor as a child, and again by a priest when he began working for the church at 19 — claims the sex-abuse crisis plaguing the church is “definitely a gay thing,” a claim that Mell called “completely ludicrous.”

The flag-burning controversy drew the attention of prominent priest and author Rev. James Martin, who has written extensively on welcoming gay and lesbian Catholics into the church — a tone often shared by Cupich and Pope Francis.

“I cannot imagine a more homophobic act, short of beating up an LGBT person,” Martin tweeted on Tuesday. “What the pastor and some of his parishioners did shows the kind of hatred that LGBT Catholics still face — in their own church.”

Complete Article HERE!