Tied up at the moment

File Under “Whoops!”  I wonder if police also checked his rectum for any, um…foreign objects he might’ve “tripped and fallen” on?

By Bruce Rushton

Fr. Tom DonovanThe pastor of St. Aloysius church on Springfield’s north end has been granted a leave of absence after he called 911 from the rectory and told a dispatcher that he needed help getting out of handcuffs.

“I’m going to need help getting out before this becomes a medical emergency,” Father Tom Donovan told a dispatcher who sounds a bit incredulous during the Nov. 28 call.

“You’re stuck in a pair of handcuffs?” the dispatcher asks.

“(I was) playing with them and I need help getting out,” Donovan responds.

Donovan told the dispatcher that he was alone in the rectory. It’s not clear exactly how he ended up in handcuffs or why he feared a medical emergency. His voice sounds garbled or muffled on the tape, and sources say that police discovered some sort of gag on the priest when they arrived.

The diocese has been tight-lipped about the matter, saying only that Bishop Thomas Paprocki granted Donovan’s request for a leave of absence at some point before Christmas. The diocese knows about the incident, given that Brad Huff, an attorney for the diocese, has been given a copy of the 911 tape by the Sangamon County Emergency Telephone System Department. Kathie Sass, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Springfield, said that the diocese also has a copy of a police report on the matter.

Sass would not disclose Donovan’s whereabouts or say whether he is staying at a church-affiliated location.

“I wouldn’t be able to tell you where Father Donovan is,” Sass said. “There’s a matter of privacy there.”

Sass said that Donovan approached Paprocki after the incident and asked for help.

“He came to the bishop before anyone was aware of the incident,” Sass said. “He came to the bishop and asked for help and was granted leave.”

Paprocki reviewed the police report after speaking with Donovan, and the police account jibed with what the priest told the bishop, Sass said.

Complete Article HERE!

Church Official in Philadelphia Gets Prison in Abuse Case


Msgr. William J. Lynn, the first Roman Catholic Church official in the United States to be convicted of covering up sexual abuses by priests under his supervision, was sentenced Tuesday to three to six years in prison.

Msgr. Lynn“You knew full well what was right, Monsignor Lynn, but you chose wrong,” Judge M. Teresa Sarmina of Common Pleas Court said as she imposed the sentence, which was just short of the maximum of three and a half to seven years. Monsignor Lynn must serve at least three years before he is eligible for parole.

Monsignor Lynn, 61, was found guilty on June 22 of child endangerment after a three-month trial that revealed efforts over decades by the Philadelphia archdiocese to play down accusations of child sexual abuse and avoid scandal. He was acquitted of conspiracy and a second child endangerment charge.

Monsignor Lynn served as secretary for clergy for the 1.5 million-member archdiocese from 1992 to 2004, recommending priest assignments and investigating abuse complaints. During the trial, prosecutors presented evidence that he had shielded predatory priests, sometimes transferring them to unwary parishes, and lied to the public to avoid bad publicity and lawsuits.

The conviction of a senior official, followed by a prison sentence, has reverberated among Catholic officials around the country, church experts said.

“I think this is going to send a very strong signal to every bishop and everybody who worked for a bishop that if they don’t do the right thing, they may go to jail,” said the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. “They can’t just say ‘the bishop made me do it.’ That’s not going to be an excuse that holds up in court.”

In a three-minute statement before sentencing, Monsignor Lynn, dressed in a black clerical shirt and white collar, said: “I have been a priest for 36 years, and I have done the best I can. I have always tried to help people.”

Turning toward relatives of an abuse victim in the courtroom, he said, “I hope someday that you will accept my apology.”

But he did not comment on the broader accusations that he put children at risk by repeatedly protecting “monsters in clerical garb,” as Judge Sarmina described it at the hearing.

The sentence was a victory for the Philadelphia district attorney, R. Seth Williams, who said outside the courtroom, “Many people say that the maximum still would not have been enough.”

Monsignor Lynn’s lawyer, Thomas Bergstrom, called the sentence “unbalanced.” Last week, the defense argued that a long prison sentence would be “merely cruel and unusual.”

Prosecutors argued that the gravity of Monsignor Lynn’s crime — giving known sexual predators continued access to children, causing lifelong anguish and damage to some — was “off the charts.”

Monsignor Lynn’s lawyers said they would appeal the conviction, saying that the child endangerment law at the time did not apply to supervisors and that the judge erred in allowing testimony about accusations that were beyond the statute of limitations.

In a statement Tuesday, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said that its procedures for protecting children had improved significantly since “the events some 10 years ago that were at the center of this trial.”

It acknowledged “legitimate anger in the broad community toward any incident or enabling of sexual abuse.” But it also described the sentence as overly harsh, saying “fair-minded people will question the severity.”

“We hope that when this punishment is objectively reviewed, it will be adjusted,” it said.

After the sentencing, Ann Casey, a friend of Monsignor Lynn for 36 years, said she believed he was a scapegoat and a victim of his intense faith in the archdiocese’s leaders. “It was his vow of obedience to the church that landed him this morning in jail,” she said.

During the trial, Monsignor Lynn’s lawyers argued that he had followed the instructions of Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua, who was the archbishop of Philadelphia from 1988 to 2003 and who died in January.

Monsignor Lynn’s conviction was for lax oversight of one former priest, Edward V. Avery, who spent six months in a church psychiatric center in 1993 after an abuse episode. Doctors said he should be kept away from children. But Monsignor Lynn sent him to live in a rectory and did not warn parish officials.

In 1999, Mr. Avery engaged in oral sex with a 10-year-old altar boy. He pleaded guilty to the assault just before Monsignor Lynn’s trial and was sentenced to two and a half to five years in prison.

Complete Article HERE!

Archbishop Vincent Nichols stops Soho gay Catholic Mass

Special Masses for gay Catholics at a London church are to be scrapped, the Archbishop of Westminster has said.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols said Masses at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Warwick Street, Soho, would end.

Archbishop-of-Canterbury-with-Archbishop-of-WestminsterHe said the Masses were not in line with the church’s central teaching on sexuality.

Gay rights charity Stonewall said: “It is a real shame he’s taken away an opportunity for gay Catholics to celebrate Mass in a safe environment.”

Archbishop Nichols, the leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, has been one of the loudest voices opposing government plans to allow same-sex marriages.

He said, in a statement, that “people with same-sex attraction” would continue to receive pastoral care.

‘Moral teaching’
The church will be dedicated during Lent to the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, a group set up by Pope Benedict XVI in 2011 for Anglicans who defect to Roman Catholicism.

Archbishop Nichols said: “The moral teaching of the Church is that the proper use of our sexual faculty is within a marriage, between a man and a woman, open to the procreation and nurturing of new human life.”

But Stonewall director of public affairs Ruth Hunt, who is Catholic, said: “Given what’s happened over Christmas, where there were vitriolic and mean messages from the pulpit about same-sex marriage, there has never been a more important time to provide a safe space for gay Catholics to pray.”

The archbishop added: “As I stated in March 2012, this means ‘that many types of sexual activity, including same-sex sexual activity, are not consistent with the teaching of the church’.”

‘Express faith’
Ms Hunt responded: “The archbishop’s views on gay issues are well rehearsed and have nothing to do with the spirituality of some lesbian and gay people and their desire to express their faith.”

The Masses for gay Catholics have been held at the church for the past five years.

Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Warwick Street and The Diocese of Westminster have been approached by the BBC, but declined to comment.

Archbishop Nichols has previously attacked the government’s gay marriage Bill, labelling it “undemocratic” and a “shambles”.

The coalition government is committed to legislating on gay marriage by the 2015 general election and a Bill is expected to be tabled in January.

Prime Minister David Cameron has promised his MPs a free vote on the issue.

Complete Article HERE!