Catholic League: Jewish Rabbis Even Greater Abusers Than Catholic Priests


Bill Donohue, the head of the pedophile priests supporting Catholic League, in an attempt to deflect attention from the regular, serious, and unresolved sexual transgressions, sexual assault, and child rape within the Catholic Church, today pointed the finger at Orthodox Jewish Rabbis, saying, “[t]he most serious cases of the sexual abuse of minors currently taking place are among Orthodox Jewish rabbis in Brooklyn.” Donohue, proving the ludicrousness of the existence and purpose of his entire organization, lambasted Jay Leno for a joke he made last night about an L.A. Bishop who recently resigned after revealing he had fathered two children. Donohue claims also that Leno has “a long track record of bashing Catholicism.” So, rather than work to fix the root causes of systemic and felonious issues within the Church, Donohue chooses instead to attacks its critics, hoping, praying that no one will notice the Catholic Church’s role and reputation in America is rapidly diminishing, even among America’s Catholics.

Jay Leno, according to the Catholic League, Thursday said, “I thought bishops could only move diagonally. I didn’t know they could move up and down.”

Donohue’s group added,

When making these remarks, Leno gestured with his hands, waving them side to side, and then up and down.

Leno went on to say, “Isn’t it amazing the bishop of L.A. confessed to fathering two children? But, hey, he didn’t use birth control, so at least he followed the church rules. Ya gotta give him credit for that.”

“The most serious cases of the sexual abuse of minors currently taking place are among Orthodox Jewish rabbis in Brooklyn, yet Leno would never tell a joke at their expense,” Donohue said in a statement. “The rate of HIV/AIDS among homosexuals is 50 times higher than in the rest of the population, yet Leno would never tell a joke at their expense. [Note: making such jokes would be equally offensive.] But if there is one wayward Catholic clergyman, it’s not only acceptable to ridicule him, it’s okay to mock the teachings of the Catholic Church.”

(The disclaimer above is Donohue’s, not ours.)

Donohue offered no proof of his allegations, nor did he offer any compassion, help, or hope for any victims, regardless of religious affiliation.

Donohue, who earlier this month claimed that rape victims of the Catholic Church’s pedophile priests are “professional victims,” and “a pitiful bunch of malcontents” unable to move on, apparently is learning that we’re watching his every word. In the past, Donohue would not have inserted the HIV/AIDS disclaimer.

In fact, just two months ago, Donohue called AIDS a “self-inflicted wound,” claiming that if “homosexuals” followed the teachings of the Church they would not “self-destruct.”

But Donohue’s default position of trying to point the finger elsewhere is offensive and misguided. No doubt there are child abuse problems in the Jewish community also, but Donohue neither works for the Jewish community, nor the Islamic community, nor any other community.

If Donohue spent his time working to prevent abuse, working to help victims of child rape by the Catholic Church — rather than, say, assist Archbishop Dolan to bash 16-year old abuse victims — then perhaps he would be qualified to point fingers and call his organization the “Catholic League.” Because right now, it’s merely a league of one extraordinary bigot.

Complete Article HERE!

Maine Catholic Church versus gay rights advocates

Maine’s Catholic Church and a coalition of gay rights advocates are once again fighting an emotional battle over same sex marriage.

Supporters delivered signatures to the Secretary of State’s office in Augusta Thursday and officially launched a new campaign to give same sex couples the right to marry in Maine.

From Cumberland to Caribou, these boxes contain the signatures of more than 100,000 Maine voters.

All of them gathered by gay marriage supporters who want the issue on the November ballot.

“It is never too late for justice never too late to do the right thing, time to end discrimination against Maine same sex couples and their families,” said Shenna Bellows with Maine’s Civil Liberties Union.

This new campaign comes three years after a stinging defeat for gay marriage supporters when Maine voters overturned a same sex marriage law passed by the legislature.

Back in 2009, gay marriage supporters needed to lobby lawmakers. This time around, they are going directly to Maine voters.

Advocates say they have knocked on more than 100,000 doors in the past year, trying to change hearts and minds one person at a time.

Lucy Bauer and her partner of nearly 20 years, Annie Kiermeyer, are hopeful this more personal campaign will have a different result.

“Nothing will please us more than to have the commitment made to each other acknowledged and honored by people here in our beloved state,” said Bauer.

Maine’s Catholic Church, which played a big role in the campaign to overturn the law three years ago is gearing up for another battle, albeit reluctantly.

“Quite frankly, we don’t think we should have to go through this again,” said Church spokesperson Brian Souchet. “It’s divisive and contentious lot of money spent on both sides.”

Gay marriage advocates believe the campaign will cost their side between four and five million dollars.

They are encouraged by internal polling that shows 54 percent of Mainers now support the issue.

But polls aren’t votes and, over the next 10 months, both sides expect it’s going to be a difficult and emotional debate.

Complete Article HERE!

Jacqueline G. Wexler, Ex-Nun Who Took On Church, Dies at 85

Jacqueline G. Wexler, a former Roman Catholic nun who fought the Vatican’s authority and won, then found herself on the other side of the barricades when she became president of Hunter College in 1970, facing student demonstrators storming her office, died on Thursday in Orlando, Fla. She was 85.
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Her death was confirmed by her daughter, Wendy Wexler Branton.

While still a nun and battling the church on many issues, Ms. Wexler drew nationwide attention as a bellwether of the liberal reforms of the Second Vatican Council. She fought successfully against church control of Webster College, the small Catholic women’s college near St. Louis that she headed in the 1960s. She advocated greater participation by women in church leadership and criticized the church’s ban on birth control.

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the Catholic televangelist, referred to her as a “Benedict Arnold” in 1967, the year she won autonomy for Webster and simultaneously renounced her vows. Dick Cavett had her as a guest on his late-night TV talk show.

Ms. Wexler’s appointment in 1970 as president of Hunter, one of 11 colleges in the City University of New York system, coincided with a turbulent year in its history. Students, roiled by a combination of antiwar politics and local tensions caused by rising fees and a new university-wide open admissions policy, held demonstrations that shut down the campus repeatedly that spring.

Protesters blocked building entrances and elevators, forcing others to use emergency doors and stairways. Ms. Wexler, refusing at first to call the police, waded into angry crowds to talk, only to be shouted down. Barricaded in her office several times, she finally called the police.

A reporter for The New York Times was in the president’s office one afternoon that April when the phones rang, bringing news that students had blocked elevators and entrances for the second time that month.

“Here we go again,” Ms. Wexler said.

Outside her window, protesters chanted in rhyme, accusing her of colluding with “pigs,” the epithet they used for the police.

Ms. Wexler said that if anything had prepared her for the turmoil, it was having been a lightning rod for condemnation by conservatives in the church.

“Zealotry is the enemy,” she said, adding: “The far right called you every name, from daughter to Beelzebub on, and you learned to take it.”

She was born Jean Grennan on Aug. 2, 1926, the youngest of four children of Edward and Florence Grennan, who owned a small farm in Sterling, Ill. She later took the name Jacqueline in honor of an older brother, Jack, who died of a brain tumor at 21.

After graduating from Webster College, she entered the order of the Sisters of Loretto in 1949, and taught high school math and English in St. Louis and El Paso, Tex. She received her master’s in English from the University of Notre Dame in 1957, and returned to Webster in 1959 as an instructor and administrator.

Sister J., as she was known, was named president of Webster in 1965. She began initiatives aimed at raising educational standards and halting declining enrollment, then common among Catholic women’s colleges.

Sister J. made institutional separation from the church her first priority. “The very nature of higher education is opposed to juridical control by the church,” she said at the time.

She also led the transition to co-education, built new facilities, and started a social-justice program that sent students to work in the poorest neighborhoods of St. Louis, attracting the attention of the Kennedy administration.

She was appointed to the president’s advisory panel on research and development in education and to the original steering committee that developed Project Head Start, the federal program for low-income children.

After several years of well-publicized jousting with Sister J., the Vatican, in 1967, granted the Sisters of Loretto permission to put Webster under the control of an independent, secular board of trustees. It was one of the first Catholic colleges to cut its ties to the church. Asked for his reaction, Archbishop Sheen replied to a reporter: “No comment. I am more interested in Nathan Hales than Benedict Arnolds.”

In 1969, the former Sister Jacqueline married Paul Wexler, a record company executive, and adopted his two children, Wayne and Wendy. Besides Ms. Wexler Branton, Ms. Wexler is survived by her husband and son, as well as four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren and two sisters.

Ms. Wexler was known as a calming presence at Hunter. She led it through the rocky early 1970s and helped make it the city university’s premier center for health care education. Before stepping down in 1979, she brought Bellevue Hospital’s nursing school into the college, expanded health care training, raised money to start a gerontology program in the school of social work and inaugurated a women’s studies program.

From 1982 until 1990, she was president of the National Conference of Christians and Jews.

After receiving an honorary degree from her alma mater, now Webster University, in 2007, Ms. Wexler, then 81, was given a tour of the campus by the president accompanied by a reporter for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Many buildings had been added since she left. She was eager to see them all, the newspaper said, and seemed to grow impatient when the elevator in one building was slow to arrive.

Whether out of eagerness or habit forged in the crucible of 1970, Ms. Wexler proceeded to the stairs.

“Let’s walk,” she said. “I wore comfortable shoes.”

Complete Article HERE!

Disobedient priests plan global movement

A parish priest who encouraged clergymen to be “disobedient” towards the Vatican plans to go international.

Helmut Schüller of the Preachers’ Initiative said yesterday (Sun) that “2012 will be the year of internationalisation”. Schüller – who previously headed Caritas Austria – said the Austrian Roman Catholic Church should “finally take members seriously”.

Schüller criticised the Vatican due to its conservative approach towards key topics of the 21st century and said the institution resembled an “absolutist monarchy”. The head of the parish of Probstdorf in the province of Lower Austria stressed that his initiative “receives a lot of approval from Catholic reform movements all over the world.”

Schüller claimed some weeks ago that the Preachers’ Initiative currently consisted of 370 members. He said yesterday there were no plans for further talks with the highest representative of the Roman Catholic Church of Austria, Viennese Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn. The archbishop condemned the word disobedience as a “term of fight” last month. Schönborn said it was “burdened with a negative connotation”.

Schönborn said it was not true that he opposed all kinds of reforms of the Church. He admitted that there was the need to rethink certain decisions and opinions but also made clear that he was against the crucial points of Schüller’s agenda.

The Preachers’ Initiative, which was established more than half a year ago, calls on the Vatican to allow priests to give Holy Communion to people who married a second time at registry offices after getting divorced following church weddings. The group also says women should be allowed to become Catholic priests.

Austria is one of the Roman Catholic Church’s most significant strongholds in Europe. Around 5.4 million Austrians are members of the Church. The number of people leaving the Church declined by 32 per cent from 2010 to 2011. More than 58,600 people quit their membership last year. Around 65 per cent of adult residents of the country are part of its Catholic Church – down sharply from 1981 when the same applied to 84 per cent.

The budget of Austria’s Catholic Church was strained in 2011 due to declining membership numbers meaning receding financial support but also compensatory payments to victims of sexual and physical abuse. The Church paid 6.4 million Euros altogether to 456 people who came forward to inform special commissions dealing with the issue that they suffered abuse at boarding schools and other institutions run by the Church.

The Church was also in the news recently due to discussions over whether it should be allowed to charge people who left it. Maximilian Hiegelsberger of the Austrian Association of Farmers’ section in Upper Austria said the Church could tax everyone regardless of whether they were members or not. Hiegelsberger argued that every resident of the country benefited by the Church’s activities in some way. He also made aware of abbeys’ positive effects on the domestic tourism industry.

The Social Democrats (SPÖ) rejected his appeal while St. Pölten Diocese Bishop Klaus Küng said it was an idea worth discussing in his opinion. Hiegelsberger is a member of the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) which has formed a federal government coalition with the SPÖ since 2007. The SPÖ emphasised it would not support his initiative. The party branded Hiegelsberger’s suggested post-Church membership fee as a “forced charge”.

The Austrian Catholic Church generated 394 million Euros with the so-called Church tax in 2010. The sum Church members have to transfer depends on their salaries. Unemployed people and everyone with a comparably small income do not have to pay anything.

Complete Article HERE!

Ex-priest keeps the faith

Unable to deny his feelings, Father Jim resigns to be with the woman he loves

Like many Roman Catholic men who feel called to the priesthood, the Rev. Jim Hearne wrestled with whether ordination was right for him.

The youngest of seven in an Irish Catholic family, he saw the joy of family life firsthand and never could quite extinguish the desire to one day have children of his own. But spurred to help stem the priest shortage and strengthen the integrity of the cloth, Hearne donned a priest’s collar in 2005 at age 25.

Now he wonders if his six years in the pulpit as “Father Jim” might have been preparation to become Jim, the father. After a six-month leave of absence from St. Giles Roman Catholic Church in Oak Park, Illinois, Hearne decided not to return to the pulpit, but to stay in the pews and pray to one day start a family of his own.

He has no intention of turning his back on Catholicism. Rather, he wants to be more faithful to the church he calls home, and faithful to his feelings.

Hearne has fallen in love.

“To stay and bear and grunt it out I think would be unfair to God,” Hearne, 32, said during a recent interview at his childhood home in Dolton, Illinois. “It would be unfair to the people of God and would be unfair to me. … Perhaps God just wanted me to be a priest for six years. It’s odd. It’s weird. It’s mysterious. That’s our God.”

Hearne’s decision has sent a ripple through the Oak Park congregation, where many parishioners bemoan the Catholic Church’s celibacy requirement and the scarcity of men who want to become priests. Allowing priests to marry would bolster the dwindling ranks, many believe, and enable committed Catholics like Hearne to serve both God and family.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Francis George said he wishes Hearne would reconsider.

But Hearne’s tale is not about a loss of faith or a clash with church hierarchy. It’s about a man who believes he is following God in an unexpected direction. While he already misses his ministry, he does not resent his church for prohibiting priests from marrying. Celibacy is not necessarily a bad idea, he says.

“I think the spiritual quest or journey is our attempt to understand, freely receive, embrace God’s entering into our life out of pure love,” he said. “Am I to have a family? What kind of work will I do? Will I be seen as an outcast by other members of the clergy and even the cardinal for having left the ministry?”

Hearne doesn’t speak in simple sentences. He delivers sermons. After all, he spent most of his life training to become a priest.

That journey began at the bedside of his dying mother 21 years ago. As he waited for his six older brothers and sisters to arrive at the hospital, priests rotated in and out of the room, offering prayers and comfort to the 11-year-old son and his father.

Hearne believes he saw the best of the priesthood that day.

“I really saw God shining through all those people in a way I hadn’t before and thought: ‘Maybe I could do that. Maybe God is calling me in that direction,’ ” Hearne said.

His older brother John saw Hearne’s vocation then, too. While most of the siblings were angry with God for taking their mother at age 50, their youngest brother remained upbeat, he said.

“When I look back, my brother was probably the strongest of all. We all knew there was something there,” said John Hearne, 45, of Dyer, Indiana. “I believe he saw something that we didn’t: faith.”

Jim Hearne enrolled at Mount Carmel High School, an all-boys school run by the Carmelite religious order.

He later enrolled at St. Joseph College Seminary at Loyola University, where for the first time in years he attended classes with the opposite sex.

Several fellow seminarians disregarded the prohibition on dating and eventually dropped out of the program. Hearne adhered to the rule, but it was a challenge. When he reached Mundelein Seminary for his graduate work, a veteran clergyman offered some words of wisdom that helped. Every priest falls in love during the course of his priesthood, the clergyman warned.

“You praise God in those moments,” Hearne said. “Just because you have the blackandwhite collar on doesn’t mean you stop having feelings. That’s what he really got across. Now it’s what you do with that love that will determine your course of action.”

Just as seeing the best of the priesthood propelled Hearne toward the vocation, witnessing the worst of the clerical culture by the time he was ordained further fuelled his commitment. While he was still enrolled in Mundelein Seminary, the sexabuse scandal erupted in Boston and spread nationwide.

“It was going to be on my generation of priests to try and somehow, some way restore trust and integrity to the priesthood, remembering that [the] majority of priests are doing what they’re supposed to be doing,” Hearne said.

As an associate pastor at St. James Catholic Church, in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and also at St. Giles, Hearne was popular with young people and heavily involved in the youth ministries.

But as the young priest immersed himself in the daytoday demands of priesthood, he realized he was lonely.

“They can teach you all they want” about celibacy, he said. “You can read all the books about it that have been printed – volumes and volumes. Until you live it and experience it, it’s a far different thing.”

To protect her privacy, Hearne won’t say much about the woman he fell for. But he does acknowledge that it’s serious.

“A man doesn’t leave the priesthood just to date,” he said.

His brother John made sure of it, interrogating the woman the first time they met, to make sure she was equally committed and understood what his brother was willing to give up for her.

Jim Hearne emphasizes that he has “crossed no moral boundaries,” and he still upholds the church’s teaching on chastity.

Unable to deny his feelings any longer, he met with the cardinal last July and requested a leave of absence. Falling in love was not a legitimate reason to leave the priesthood, the cardinal told him, before granting him six months to give his decision more thought.

“Jim is a very fine man. He’s a really good man,” George said. “I hope with God’s grace that it will work out.”

The cardinal also warned him that if he left the priesthood and became a layperson once again, he could not immediately marry in the church – a source of heartbreak for Hearne, who wouldn’t want to marry anywhere else.

In a letter to parishioners at St. Giles, Hearne assured them that misconduct had not spurred his sudden departure. He also assured them that they had not forced him to leave.

“Please know that you have done nothing wrong,” he wrote.

“I love God. I love my faith. I love you. And it is because of this love that I need to do this for myself.”

Complete Article HERE!