Breaking God: Former Roman Catholic priest busted for selling meth to feds

A former Roman Catholic priest is among five people who have been indicted by a federal grand jury in an alleged drug operation involving shipments of methamphetamine to Connecticut from California.

Kevin WallinFederal prosecutors said Kevin Wallin, 61, former pastor at St. Augustine’s parish in Bridgeport, received the shipments and sold methamphetamine to an undercover officer six times since last September. Prosecutors say investigators also gathered evidence from court-authorized wiretaps.

The grand jury in Bridgeport indicted the five people Tuesday on charges of conspiring to distribute 500 grams or more of a substance containing methamphetamine and 50 grams of actual methamphetamine. Wallin, of Waterbury, was also charged with six counts of possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. The conspiracy charges carry 10 years to life in prison upon conviction.

All five are detained. It’s not clear if they have lawyers.

Also charged are Kenneth Devries, 52, of Waterbury, Michael Nelson, 40, of Manchester, Chad McCluskey, 43, of San Clemente, Calif., and Kristen Laschober, 47, of Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Wallin resigned as St. Augustine’s pastor in June 2011 after serving nine years in the post, citing health and personal issues, the Diocese of Bridgeport said in a statement. Diocese officials granted him a sabbatical the following month.

During the sabbatical, diocese officials became concerned about Wallin’s well-being and reached out to him, but he has never spoken directly to church officials, the diocese said in the statement, which did not elaborate.

Wallin’s faculties for public ministry were suspended in May 2012 and he has not been reassigned, the diocese said.

“News of Msgr. Kevin Wallin’s arrest comes with a sense of shock and concern on the part of the diocese and the many people of Fairfield County who have known him as a gifted, accomplished and compassionate priest,” the diocese said. “The diocese stands ready to help as it has throughout the past two years. We ask for prayers for Msgr. Wallin during the difficult days ahead for him.”

Wallin was a close friend of former Archbishop of New York Edward Egan and advised Egan in the early 2000s when Bishop James McCarthy and Monsignor Charles Kavanagh were forced to resign over sexual improprieties.

Complete Article HERE!

The Pope’s dangerous sex appeal

By Ian Buruma

Human sexual behaviour can be perilous, as the ghastly rape of a 23-year-old woman by six men on a Delhi bus in December once again showed. After going to the cinema, she and her boyfriend were beaten, before she was brutally assaulted and attacked with an iron rod for more than an hour. Thirteen days later, she died from her wounds.

1357758324PopeIt is often claimed that rape is not really about sex, but about power. True enough. But it is not unrelated to sex. The sexual act is used as a form of torture, or even, in some cases, as a deadly weapon.

But that was not what Pope Benedict XVI had in mind when he spoke in his pre-Christmas speech to the Roman Curia.

It was a deeply confused speech. His disquisition on the dangers posed by same-sex marriage followed a passage deploring the modern tendency to avoid lifelong commitments in human relationships, as if that were not precisely what gay marriage is about. Of course, in the pope’s view, commitment in gay relationships is part of the problem: more and more people, especially in the Western world, now claim the freedom to choose their own sexual identities instead of sticking to the “natural” roles “ordained by God.”

The pope’s words suggest that homosexuality is a kind of lifestyle choice, a form of modern decadence – a secular, even blasphemous act against God and nature – rather than a fact of birth. Fear of sexual behavior is one of the main reasons why most religions establish strict rules concerning sexual relationships. Marriage is a way to contain our dangerous desires. Restricting sexual conduct to procreation is supposed to make the world safer and more peaceful.

Benedict is not so extreme. Nor does he advocate violence against homosexuals. On the contrary, he sees himself as a deeply civilised man of peace. But I would argue that his speech actually encourages the kind of sexual aggression that can result in the savagery that took place in Delhi recently.

The six rapists who killed the young woman were not modern decadents who chose to defy God and nature by claiming new secular freedoms, let alone heterodox sexual identities. From what we can surmise from this case – and many others like it – they are the semi-urbanised products of a highly conventional rural society where the roles of men, and especially women, are tightly regulated. Their victim, a well-educated physiotherapy intern, seems to have been a great deal more modern than her attackers. The men were not uneducated, but they were unable to cope with the freedoms of contemporary women.

For that reason, the six rapists saw her as a “loose” woman, a city slut, fair game. After all, she was out late with her boyfriend. That is precisely how the men taunted the young couple: What was an unmarried young woman doing out in the Delhi streets with a young man? She deserved what was coming to her.

Violent hatred of homosexuals comes from a similar source. Just as women outside the family home – women who stake a claim to public space, working and living among men – are seen as dangerous temptresses, men who love men are often regarded as predators, ready to pounce on society’s children. What many people fear is not just uncontrolled sexual behavior, but sex itself.

But the more sex is repressed and people are made to fear it the greater the chance of sexual violence, because anyone who might possibly stir our sexual desires, man or woman, becomes a potential target of our rage.

This might help to explain what happened in Delhi, but it does not in any way excuse it.

One wishes that the pope had said something about that, and had offered some words of encouragement to the men and women in India who have had enough of sexual violence coming not from modern libertines, but from deeply repressed men. But that is too much to expect from a man who appears to understand little about sexual life. That is why, instead of talking about rapists, he targeted peaceful homosexual men and women who wish to show their commitment to their lovers by marrying them.

Complete Article HERE!

4 women go topless in St. Peter’s Square to protest Vatican opposition to gay marriage

VATICAN CITY — Four women have gone topless in St. Peter’s Square to protest the Vatican’s opposition to gay marriage.

vatican-gay-marriage_protestPolice quickly took the women away Sunday, and the pope appeared not to have been disturbed as he delivered his traditional prayer from his studio window overlooking the piazza.

On their bare backs, the women had painted slogans “In Gay We Trust,” and “Shut Up.” One of them, Inna Shevchenko, said: “Today we are here to protest against homophobia.”

The small demonstration coincided with a march in Paris that is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to protest the French president’s plan to legalize gay marriage and let gay couples adopt children.

French Catholic bishops and other religious leaders have strongly opposed the proposal, and the Vatican has backed them.

Complete Article HERE!

Bourgeois receives official Vatican letter dismissing him from priesthood

By Joshua J. McElwee

Roy Bourgeois, the longtime peace activist and Catholic priest dismissed by the Vatican because of his support for women’s ordination, has received the official letter notifying him of the move three months after it was made.
The letter, which comes from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is signed by the congregation’s prefect on behalf of Pope Benedict XVI and states that the pope’s decision in the matter is “a supreme decision, not open to any appeal, without right to any recourse.”

Translation of papal letter to Roy Bourgeois

Written in Latin, the letter dismisses Bourgeois from the priesthood and restricts him from all priestly ministries. It asks Bourgeois to return a signed copy “as a proof of reception and at the same time of acceptance of the same dismissal and dispensation.”

The letter, dated Oct. 4, was made available Wednesday by Bourgeois, who said he received it last week from the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, the U.S. missionary society he served as a priest for 40 years. Bourgeois said he did not plan to return a signed copy.

The congregation’s letter does not make reference to specific charges against Bourgeois or mention his support for women’s ordination, saying, “for the good of the Church, the dismissal from the said Society must be confirmed, and moreover, also the dismissal from the clerical state must be inflicted.”

“There’s no mention of what I did,” Bourgeois said. “There’s no mention … of women’s ordination. What crime did I commit that brought about this serious sentence? There’s no mention of that. What did I do? What am I being charged with?”

Bourgeois said he found the request to sign the letter “somewhat laughable” at first because he could not fully understand its contents until he obtained an English translation of the Latin from a translation service.

His signature, Bourgeois said, would indicate he accepts the letter’s contents.

“I do not accept it,” he said. “I think it’s a grave injustice. I think it’s mean-spirited. I think it contradicts whatever Jesus had talked about and taught us.”

Maryknoll announced the move against Bourgeois in a press release Nov. 19, but neither the society nor the Vatican congregation responded to previous requests to make public the official letter announcing the move.

Bourgeois said his copy of the letter arrived via registered mail last week along with a short note from Fr. Edward Dougherty, the society’s superior general.

The Vatican’s dismissal, Dougherty wrote to Bourgeois in that note, “is irrevocable and not subject to appeal.”

Mike Virgintino, the communications manager for the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers, wrote in an email Thursday that Maryknoll officials attempted to schedule a meeting with Bourgeois in December to personally deliver the letter but the meeting had to be postponed following the death of Bourgeois’ father in November.

The Vatican’s letter states Bourgeois may not exercise any priestly ministries, including giving homilies or having a “directive role in a pastoral environment.” He also cannot hold an office or teach at any seminary or theological school.

The letter also asks Maryknoll to “exhort [Bourgeois] assiduously so that, once [his] proud behavior has been purified, he will participate in the life of the People of God in conformity to his new condition, will give edification and in this way will show himself a worthy son of the church.”

The letter is signed by Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the doctrinal congregation’s prefect, and Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, its secretary.

Oblate Fr. Francis Morrisey, a canon lawyer at Ottawa’s Roman Catholic University of Saint Paul, said the official document seems clear that Bourgeois has no recourse in the matter, as his removal was a decision of the pope himself.

William Quigley, an American lawyer who had the original version of the Vatican letter professionally translated into English for Bourgeois, called the letter “very, very unfair” because it does not mention any charges against Bourgeois.

“It’s like they gave him a punishment, but they’ve never given him a charge,” said Quigley, the director of the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center at Loyola University New Orleans and a former legal director for the Center for Constitutional Rights.

“Under the most basic human rights law … everybody has a right to know what the charge is and to have a hearing before a fair tribunal,” Quigley said. “This is bewildering.”

Bourgeois said Wednesday he would continue to speak in favor of women’s ordination and did not think the Vatican’s letter would stop others from also expressing support.

Comparing women’s ordination to the abolition of slavery and women’s suffrage, Bourgeois said “this movement of gender equality … is rooted in God, equality and justice. It’s not stoppable.”

“This letter is not going to stop anything,” Bourgeois said. “I think it’s simply going to bring more people into the movement.”

Bourgeois first attracted episcopal attention after he participated in the ordination of Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice Sevre-Duszynska in August 2008. Shortly after, the Vatican congregation notified him he had incurred a latae sententiae, or automatic, excommunication for his participation.

Maryknoll asked Bourgeois to publicly recant his support of women’s ordination, telling the priest in a March 2011 letter he faced laicization and removal from the order if he did not comply.

In a series of letters and interviews since then, Bourgeois said he could not comply with the request for reasons of conscience.

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic Church Prepares For Ordination Of Transgender Priest

If you just looked out the window to see if pigs are soaring across the clouds, you’re not alone. The North American Old Catholic Church, a congregation that combines Catholic teachings with progressive values, is set to ordain a transgender priest in Minnesota.

GLAAD shares the press release detailing the ordination of Shannon T.L. Kearns:

Shannon T.L. Kearns

The North American Old Catholic Church, one of the largest Old Catholic bodies in the United States, will ordain Shannon T.L. Kearns to the priesthood on January 19, 2013. Kearns, who is a transgender man, will be tasked with starting a new Minneapolis parish, House of the Transfiguration, after his ordination. This will be a pioneering parish in Minnesota; one that combines the traditions of the church with progressive perspectives and embraces all people.

The ordination will take place at 3 pm at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1900 Nicollet Ave. Minneapolis. Bishop Benjamin Evans of the diocese of New Jersey will preside. He says, “The North American Old Catholic Church looks forward to establishing a presence in Minneapolis with the ordination of Father Kearns. God’s Holy Spirit continues to bless us with growth!” The North American Old Catholic Church is a progressive Catholic tradition that welcomes all people. This church ordains women, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, married and partnered people, and those who have been divorced. The North American Old Catholic Church focuses on social justice and developing new parishes.

Kearns has a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. While in seminary he transitioned from female to male. Kearns says, “I am honored and humbled to have my calling to ministry affirmed by the North American Old Catholic Church. I look forward to many years serving as a priest.”

Congrats, Father Kearns!

Complete Article HERE!