Accused of being gay, Spanish priest challenges Church to measure his anus

WITH no apparent evidence other than a photograph of Spanish priest Andrés García Torres hugging a young Cuban seminarian, the Catholic bishop of Getafe has leapt to the outrageous conclusion that there is something gay about two topless men in a warm embrace.

According to this report, the bishop now wants the priest to abandon his parish in the Madrid dormitory town of Fuenlabrada, undergo a psychiatric cure, and take an HIV test.

Torres responded by saying he intends going to Rome to show that he is being expelled from his parish unfairly.

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The priest, who insists that her and the 28-year-old with whom he was photographed on a trip to Fátima are just good friends, and threw down this challenge:

Let them measure my anus and see if it is dilated.

He said his mum hadn’t stopped crying over what has happened.

Locals say that the priest is a very humane person, dedicated to helping others. More than 1,000 signatures have been gathered in his support.

Vatican reform policies ‘public relation ploys’

ACTIVISTS in the US documenting clerical sex abuse cases within the Catholic Church expressed dismay yesterday at the findings of the Cloyne report.

They also voiced scepticism that the Vatican or church authorities in Ireland will ever allow the extent of abuse to be fully revealed.

“The Cloyne Report is disheartening confirmation that even today, despite the Church’s knowledge of the profound anguish of thousands of victims, its reform policies are public relations ploys, not true child protection programs,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, the Boston-based director of BishopAccountability.org, an online database documenting the Catholic sex-abuse crisis worldwide.

Barbara Blaine, president of a US-based pressure group called Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said the report’s conclusion that the Vatican encouraged the Cloyne cover-ups “should surprise no one”.

“A key reason bishops ignore, minimise and hide child sex crimes,” she said, “is because Vatican officials have largely urged, and sometimes insisted, that they do so.”

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Report gets muted reaction from international press

THERE was a somewhat low-key reaction among the international press to the publication of the Cloyne report into child sex abuse.

Many British newspapers chose not to cover the story, although The Guardian labelled the report “devastating”.

Citing former Bishop of Cloyne John Magee as being a “confidante of three popes” and an extremely powerful man in the church in Ireland and in Rome, it outlined how he was centrally involved in “deliberately misleading authorities in the republic about the church’s internal inquiries into children’s claims that priests were abusing them”.

Much of the more prominent coverage was visible in the US, with many of the papers focusing on how the Vatican chose to handle the reports of abuse in the diocese.

The New York Times pointed out how the Catholic Church here was covering up the abuse of children by priests as recently as 2009, long after it issued guidelines meant to protect those children while the Vatican in Rome “tacitly encouraged the cover-up by ignoring the guidelines”.

The Washington Post went with the headline: “New report on Catholic Church cover-ups of child abuse in Ireland blames bishop, Vatican.”

The report went on to label the Cloyne Report as exposing the “chronic cover-up of child abuse” in the diocese and stressed how the Government warned that “parishes across Ireland could pose a continuing danger to children’s welfare today given Cloyne’s claims to be following church child-protection policy while actually ignoring it”.

The Boston Globe also took up the story again pointing out how the Cloyne diocese “ignored rules on reporting abuse”.

The newspaper reported how the developments from the report showed “the tensions between civil and ecclesiastical justice in a crisis that has shaken the church’s moral authority worldwide”.

It also pointed out how the report exposed “a complex tug of war between the Irish church and the Vatican over how to handle abuse, with a fine line between confusion and obstruction”.

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Vatican shelters Magee as abuse report fury grows

THE Vatican is today protecting disgraced Bishop John Magee.

Magee is now believed to be hiding out in Rome following the latest scandal to hit the Church. Insiders believe he is being protected by the Vatican and Pope Benedict amid the furore of the damning Cloyne Report.

The Vatican has so far refused to comment on the report which accuses Magee of lying to the state about the protection of children.

Pressure is now growing on the Church to call the Bishop to account.

The report shows that the Catholic Church was ignoring its own guidelines of child protection as recently as 2009.

It also says that Bishop Magee kissed and touched a teenage boy in a manner described by investigators as “inappropriate behaviour”.

Bishop Magee’s exact whereabouts remained a mystery today as pressure was growing on the Catholic Church to call the bishop to account.

He has not commented on the report or made himself available to answer questions from the media.

A visibly shaken Archbishop Dermot Clifford said he would have been “very happy” if Bishop Magee was in front of the press responding to questions about the Cloyne report instead of him.

“I’d be very happy if he was sitting here in this seat and it’s a pity that he isn’t,” he told a press conference in Cork after the publication of the report.

The diocese’s caretaker bishop, who is also the Archbishop of Cashel and Emly, described himself as “having distanced himself from John Magee” in recent years and had not any contact with him recently.

He said he believed that the former Bishop of Cloyne was out of the country.

Bishop Magee has been accused of lying to the State over child protection procedures in the Cloyne Diocese where he and a senior assistant failed a succession of victims of clerical sex abuse.

The report also reveals that Bishop Magee was the subject of a complaint over an alleged inappropriate incident with a teenage boy. His actions were deemed to be “inappropriate behaviour” rather than abuse.

It took diocesan authorities three months to report on the matter to gardai once they were made aware of the allegations.

A file was later sent to the DPP who recommended no charges be brought against the bishop.

The complaint centred on an incident where Dr Magee “tightly” embraced a 17-year-old boy, referred to in the report as “Joseph” and allegedly kissed him on the forehead.

Joseph, who had been contemplating entering the priesthood, had a number of further meetings with the bishop, some when he was under 18 and some when he was over 18.

Dr Magee later denied kissing Joseph on the forehead but said he had made the sign of the cross on his forehead.

He acknowledged telling Joseph he loved him but later explained his intention “was to comfort the young man who was upset by family problems”.

Dr Magee was referred to a “boundary counsellor” who outlined what “constituted good practice in the area of touch in the context of pastoral relationship.”

The commission found that the case was dealt with appropriately.

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Ex-bishop slammed over child abuse

A retired Catholic bishop has been singled out for failing to follow Church rules on reporting clerical sex abuse in an Irish diocese as recently as three years ago.

A fourth damning inquiry into the church in Ireland lays the blame for the mishandling of allegations with John Magee – a former Vatican aide who served as personal secretary to three popes.

The judge-led investigation into his inadequate attempts to deal with abusive clerics launched a withering attack on the former Bishop of Cloyne in Co Cork for attempting to blame subordinates for his failures.

The long-awaited report also found his second-in-command Monsignor Denis O’Callaghan did not approve of the Church’s protection guidelines, in particular the need to alert the police, and “stymied” child abuse policy.

“It is a remarkable fact that Bishop Magee took little or no active interest in the management of clerical child sexual abuse cases until 2008,” the shocking 400-page report found.

The inquiry – headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, who in 2009 exposed a damning catalogue of failures in the Dublin Archdiocese – found the Catholic hierarchy in Cloyne was resisting church policy 12 years after a framework document on child protection was adopted in 1996.

The commission’s devastating criticisms go right to the top of the Catholic Church.

It lambasted the Vatican and accused it of an “entirely unhelpful” reaction for referring to the Irish Church’s mandatory reporting guidelines as merely a study document.

It found the response from Rome effectively gave a carte blanche to the likes of Bishop Magee to ignore the guidelines and offered “comfort and support” to senior clerics such as Monsignor O’Callaghan who dissented from official Irish Church policy on paedophile priests.

John Magee stood down from day-to-day duties in March 2009 and resigned a year later.

In one of its most damning assessments, the report states the Cloyne scandal was different from others, because it dealt with allegations after 1996.

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