Priest Charged With Patronizing a Prostitute

Police arrested a Northeast Philadelphia priest after he allegedly solicited sex and drugs from a female officer posing as a decoy.

Forty-eight-year-old Patrick McCormick, of the 3000 block of Levick Street, was charged with Patronizing a Prostitute on February 23rd.

The alleged incident happened around 11 p.m. on the 3300 block of Kensington Avenue.

Police say McCormick was arrested after soliciting sex and drugs from a female officer posing as a prostitute. McCormick saw the decoy on the street and offered her $50 to perform a sex act. Police say he also told her to bring a joint, according to investigators.

McCormick is an assistant pastor with St. Timothy Rectory on Levick Street in Northeast Philadelphia.

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, calling the information “deeply troubling” says McCormick notified them on February 24th that he was arrested but that the charge was a DUI.

Church officials said McCormick was placed on administrative leave.

Complete Article HERE!

Mother Church and the Rape of Her Children

I recommend that you read the entire article, but here are Richard Sipe’s conclusions.

Conclusion: The title of this volume—Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church: A Decade of Crisis:—is actually a question. What has the Catholic Church learned? No one in June 2002 could possibly imagine the worldwide scope or dimensions that questions about abuse by Roman Catholic clergy would assume by 2012. The head of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference, Wilton Gregory, proclaimed triumphantly in 2004, “the problem is history.”

My reflections focused on five fundamental issues that impinge on the Catholic Church and underlie its processes of learning about and preventing clergy sex abuse: secrecy, scandal, crisis, mandated celibacy, and clerical culture.

Secrecy was and remains foundational to the operation of the Catholic clerical world. Reviewing several thousand legal procedures over the past ten years demonstrates to me how assiduously—and violently—American cardinals and bishops fight to keep incriminating and embarrassing documents secret.

Within a decade, the fulminating scandal fed by revelation upon revelation of Catholic bishops and priests abusing boys and girls and superiors covering up their crime spread like a string of Chinese fire crackers from Boston’s Back Bay to the Vatican and Pope, from Dallas to Dublin and Bishops Conferences around the world. Sex abuse by priests is no longer a secret, but a scandal properly so defined: a widely publicized allegation or set of allegations that damages the reputation of an institution, individual or creed. Clergy abuse of the vulnerable is the biggest scandal the Catholic Church in America has ever faced and most probably equals the Twelfth and Sixteenth Century scandals in Europe. For example: tapes recorded during an April 2010 meeting between a victim, his bishop abuser, and a cardinal (Danneels of Belgium) reveal the prelate urging the victim not to tell anyone that the bishop sexually abused him. The European press claimed the tapes provided some of the most damaging documents to emerge in the scandal rocking the Roman Catholic Church.

Again in 2010 another cardinal, Dario Castrillon Hoyos of Columbia, used the familial argument to defend keeping priest abuse secret saying, “it [reporting priest abusers to the police] would have been like testifying against a family member at trial.” He also claimed in a radio interview reported by the Associated Press “that Pope Benedict XVI, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was involved in a 2001 decision to praise a French bishop for shielding a priest who was convicted of raping minors.”

Not long after February 27, 2004 when the Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States was published and made public along with the John Jay Report Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne M. Burke who served as interim Chair of the National Review Board said that the bishops did not want change, but only “business as usual.” She spoke in 2010 about the problem of “untruth” she sees in the church and the bishops.

The scandal of sex abuse by Catholic clergy has been a public relations nightmare—gargantuan and impossible. No spin makes gruesome facts go away. Many priests and bishops have violated in criminal ways their responsibilities as representatives of Mother Church. Scandal, of course, is not the real problem no matter how distressing; the crisis of betrayal of Mother Church’s children is the crux of the scandal. However, the question remains: has the church learned anything about truth and transparency in the past decade?

There is wide based agreement that the Catholic Church is in a crisis mode. The crisis has to do with human sexuality—specifically bishops and priests who present themselves as celibate and chaste while they violate minors and the vulnerable under the cloak of their religion. The denial, rationalization, lies, and cover up of clerical crime by Church authority is in evidence and provides an ongoing scandal and crisis.

There are repeated calls for the abrogation of the requirement of celibacy for ordination to the priesthood. Whatever the merits of the arguments, they will not solve all the problems of clerical sexual malfeasance. Bishops and priests exist in, maintain, and assiduously preserve a clerical culture within which secret sexual activity by clergy is tolerated.

Celibacy and chastity are taught in an educational mode and structure established for diocesan clergy at the Council of Trent. That tradition is dependent on a monastic-like schedule (horarium) and a system of sacramental confession and spiritual directors. It is no longer effective. Despite rules and screening procedures a significant number of clerical candidates are sexually active with one another or with priests—sometimes faculty. Celibate observance of religious order clerics has not proved better. But sexual activity in the clerical culture is not introduced from the bottom-up—from candidates for ordination—but from men established in the culture—priests, spiritual directors, rectors, superiors, even bishops. Homosexuality is a predominant operational orientation in clerical culture form Rome to Los Angeles.[23]

Culture always trumps reason. Is it possible to revise clerical culture? History, theology and human nature all conspire in favor of reforming dysfunctional systems eventually. Theologically, clerical culture is mutable, no matter how firmly grounded in custom and tradition. Jesuit Bernard Lonergan (1967) wrestling with the possibility of “transition of organization and structural forms in the Church” said among other things: “there is in the historicity, which results from human nature, an exigence for changing form, structures, methods; and it is on this level and through this medium of changing meaning that divine revelation has entered the world and that the Church’s witness is given to it.”[24]

Literary critic, Lionel Trilling (1965) talks about the power of forces that change culture. Somewhere in the mind “there is a hard, irreducible, stubborn core of biological urgency, and biological necessity, and biological reason, that culture cannot reach and that reserves the right, which sooner or later it will exercise, to judge culture and resist and revise it.”[25] There is hope.

Prevention of sexual abuse by priests and bishops presents a daunting agenda. A revision of clerical culture is required to deal effectively with clergy sexual violations of every stripe. The burden transcends the capacities and limits of law and psychiatry and rests squarely on the very core of religion and spiritual transformation—in theologian Bernard Haering’s words on “absolute sincerity and transparency.” Prevention will not occur without discussion of the realities of sexuality, celibacy, and the development of explicit and honest norms for sexual responsibility and accountability for human behavior on every level of the church. The darkness of secrecy breeds betrayal, abuse and violent assault. Revelations over the last decade have proved that. A Mother Church, that sustains, nourishes and, protects her children demands light, accountability, openness and truth. That is the task unveiled over the past ten years. It is vital that the Church respond. Any church that cannot tell the truth about itself runs the risk of having nothing significant to be heard.

Complete Article HERE!

BC Won’t Renew Contract Of Controversial Professor

Several students are protesting the decision by Boston College to not renew the contract of an adjunct professor in its School of Theology and Ministry who has openly questioned why the Catholic church won’t ordain women.

The Boston College mission statement on its website talks about the Jesuit foundation of the school that makes it unique. It reads: “No other institution so explicitly embodies the fundamental human desire to know.”

But after Father John Shea, a professor of pastoral care and counseling, asked church leaders for a theological explanation for why women are not being ordained to the priesthood of the Catholic church, he was let go. After nine years, Shea will leave his position at the end of this semester. He refused to comment.

The school says, as a matter of policy, it does not discuss personnel decisions*. But several of the BC students who are protesting the decision say there’s a climate of intolerance at the Jesuit university around openly discussing sensitive issues such as the ordination of women.

“I think the reason he was let go was because he was causing trouble,” said John Falcone, who worked as a graduate assistant with Shea.

Last year Shea wrote directly to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, telling him that he would step aside from active ministry until women are allowed to be ordained. Falcone says Shea has since paid a price for this position.

“I think the university, by any means necessary, is tying to avoid any kind of trouble or implication that the School of Theology and Ministry is not impeccably right wing orthodox,” Falcone said.

Recently, after Shea was told his contract would not be renewed, he wrote again to O’Malley, and to other Catholic leaders across the country, asking why the church won’t let women be priests.

Boston College said Shea’s contract was not renewed because his position was changed to a tenure-track job, a change the School of Theology and Ministry has sought for some time. But students in the program, including Paul Shoaf Kozak, are protesting his termination.

“John Shea is a highly respected faculty member,” Shoaf Kozak said. “He is, in fact, one of the only members of our department who teaches pastoral counseling. His classes are always full. He typically receives high evaluations from students.”

Shoaf Kozak signed a student-drafted letter to Boston College President William Leahy expressing disappointment with the decision not to renew Shea’s contract. The letter says there is an underlying message in the decision: you can’t disagree with Catholic teachings.

“There’s some suspicion, for sure, especially given the fact of the atmosphere right now of our church,” Shoaf Kozak said. “And at our school we’re not fully permitted to discuss issues in the public forum about homosexuality, female ordination, those issues that are very important for our generation of Catholics, here in a North American context.”

Boston College says this is not true. Spokesman Jack Dunn says the school doesn’t shy away from any conversations.

“Unfortunately some students apparently are upset over a personnel issue and while I’ll never discuss personnel issues, I can assure you that anger is misguided,” Dunn said. “It’s a terrific school, it’s a school that’s embracing the issues of the day, as a school of theology and ministry should.”

The Vatican has been clamping down on priests who have advocated for the ordination of women. Last year, a priest from the Maryknoll order was excommunicated because he took part in a women’s ordination ceremony.

Suzanne Thiel is the president of an origination known as Roman Catholic Women Priests, and is one of approximately 100 women who have gone through ordination ceremonies and call themselves priests. Thiel said the Catholic public has accepted female ordination, but church officials won’t talk about it.

“I think we have plenty of male priests who are open to women balancing out the ministry but they just are afraid for all kinds of reasons,” Thiel said. “Probably their retirement, especially, and just their whole priesthood from being cut off, because that’s how this hierarchy has been functioning.”

The primary theological explanation the Vatican gives is that women can’t be priests because a priest has to represent Christ, and women can’t do that because they’re not male.

Students in Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry say they expected an atmosphere that welcomes dialogue and values professors who embody the Christian spirit. They have asked BC President Leahy for an explanation of his decision not to renew Professor Shea’s contract.

Complete Article HERE!

Priest at St. Ignatius removed from duties

A priest at St. Ignatius Loyola Roman Catholic Church in Whitfield was removed from his assignment after acknowledging he had an inappropriate relationship with a woman, officials with the Diocese of Allentown said Sunday.

The relationship between the Rev. Cletus Onyegbule, 44, and the woman began when she was 18 years old, officials said.

Diocese officials did not identify the woman or specify the nature of the relationship.

Bishop John O. Barres announced the dismissal to the parish during the 5:30 p.m. Mass on Saturday.

Diocese officials reported the matter to the “appropriate authorities” and are cooperating with those authorities, according to a news release from diocese spokesman Matthew Kerr.

“We always do that,” Kerr said Sunday. “It’s not up to us to decide the legality of a situation.”

Kerr declined to go into specifics about the matter “in respect for the privacy for all the parties involved.”

Officials at St. Ignatius could not be reached for comment Sunday afternoon.

Onyegbule is currently at a treatment facility outside the diocese and is not permitted to function publicly as a priest, Kerr said.

Kerr did not specify what type of facility, but said that it is designed to work with members of the clergy.

A native of Nigeria, Onyegbule had served as an assistant pastor at St. Ignatius since March 2009.

He was ordained in 2002 and served at St. Ambrose Church in Schuylkill Haven and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Bethlehem Township, Northampton County, before his assignment at St. Ignatius.

There was no mention of any criminal activity, and no charges were filed against Onyegbule, officials said.

Complete Article HERE!

Savannah diocese, bishops sued over priest child abuse case

The Catholic Diocese of Savannah and two of its bishops have been sued in South Carolina over alleged sexual abuse of a minor by former priest Wayland Y. Brown.

The suit, filed Nov. 16 in the Court of Common Pleas in Ridgeland, alleged that Brown abused a Savannah youth whom he met through youth programs at Savannah’s St. James Catholic Church and school in the mid-1970s.

According to the suit, the victim, a “devout Catholic” identified as John Doe, was sexually abused by Brown on various church and school properties as well as in various locations in South Carolina.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Savannah and bishops Raymond Lessard and Gregory Hartmayer are named as defendants in the suit.

“In approximately 1976-1979, Priest Brown sexually assaulted the minor plaintiff, John Doe, on numerous occasions,” the suit alleged.

The 25-page suit also alleged the church “knew or should have known” Brown was assaulting the victim and the church used “a policy of concealment, secrecy and obfuscation of child abuse by church employees and priests.”

The suit asks for a jury trial to determine damages.

Brown, 67, was ordained in the diocese in July 1977, allegedly over the objections of some diocesan staff, by then-Bishop Raymond Lessard and in 1988 served as associate pastor at St. James Parish in southside Savannah.

Hartmayer was installed as bishop Oct. 18.

Brown was removed from active ministry in July 1988.

Bishop J. Kevin Boland, who served between the two named bishops and is not a defendant in the civil case, started the process to remove Brown from the priesthood in February 2003.

The Vatican dismissed Brown from the priesthood in December 2004. Brown voluntarily agreed to return to Maryland in June 2002 to face prosecution on charges of molesting a Maryland teenager decades earlier.

He pleaded guilty in a Maryland court in November 2002 to charges of child abuse and battery for performing sexual acts on a teenage boy and his younger brother between 1974 and 1977.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but in April 2008 was released after serving five years based on good behavior.

He was required to register as a child sex offenders on the Maryland sex offender registry

Brown has not been charged with sexual abuse in the Savannah area, but at least one man has claimed he was molested by a former St. James priest.

“Father Brown is a convicted sex offender,” said Charleston attorney D. Scott Beard, one of John Doe’s lawyers. “According to our lawsuit, he was placed in a position of authority with young boys even though church officials knew of his inappropriate sexual behavior with minors.”

Beard said Brown “left a trail of child victims in the places where he was assigned by the Catholic Church. If Church officials had not acted recklessly in allowing Father Brown to be around children, they could have prevented John Doe and others like him from being abused.”

Diocese spokeswoman Barbara King said Friday, “We cannot comment on pending legal action.”

Complete Article HERE!