Church asks court to determine abuse victim’s sexuality and if relationship with priest “pleased” him

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08.09.2020 Miedzybrodzie Bialskie . Janusz Szymik – w mlodosci molestowany przez ksiedza .

By Daniel Tilles

A Catholic curia in Poland has asked for a court to determine the sexuality of the victim of a priest and whether he took “pleasure in the intimate relationship”. The victim says he was 12 years old when the abuse began.

Last year, Janusz Szymik – pictured above as a child – launched a civil case against Bielsko-Żywiec diocese. He is seeking 3 million zloty (€660,000) compensation from the curia, which he argues is responsible for abuse he suffered at the hands of a priest – who can be named only as Jan W. under Polish privacy law – in the 1980s.

A church court had previously found Jan W. guilty of sexual offences against Szymik when the latter was a child. In 2017, he was given a five-year ban on conducting priestly ministry and hearing confession, and was ordered to live in isolation.

News website Onet has now published parts of the curia’s response to Szymik’s civil lawsuit. Among its demands is for “evidence from an expert sexologist on the determination of the claimant’s sexual preferences, in particular determination of the claimant’s sexual orientation”.

Additionally, it calls for the victim to be questioned on his relationship with the priest, including him “showing pleasure in maintaining an intimate relationship with Jan W.” and even “deriving benefits [from it], including material benefits”.

The diocese “denies that the relationship was based on enslavement or incapacitation; on the contrary: it was voluntary and based on mutual benefits”, according to the document cited by Onet. It points to Jan W.’s testimony during the church trial, in which he admitted to sexual contact with Szymik beginning only in 1987, not in 1984 as the victim claims.

It also argues that, although Szymik was an altar boy, because meetings between him and the priest took place outside the church, and because Szymik “participated voluntarily”, they “were not related to Jan W.’s ministry” and “the sexual contacts did not take place during the performance of the duties entrusted to him”.

Finally, the curia opposes Szymik’s claim on technical grounds. It says that the statute of limitations for civil action has expired, and that the abuse took place before the Bielsko-Żywiec diocese was established, when Jan W. was under the authority of the Kraków diocese.

In response to the publication of the diocese’s legal submission, Tomasz Terlikowski, a prominent Catholic commentator, called its approach “scandalous” and “sad proof that the bishop does not even know the teachings of the church of which he is supposed to be a shepherd”.

The questions the curia proposes asking of Szymik are indicative of a “paedophile’s model of thinking” and will cause “the victim harm again”, tweeted Terlowski, who called on the bishop to withdraw the document, appoint a new lawyer, and apologise.

Last year, the former bishop of Bielsko-Żywiec, Tadeusz Rakoczy, was disciplined by the Vatican for neglect in responding to Szymik’s accusations of abuse against Jan W. in 1993 and 2007. Szymik is convinced that the priest abused other victims too.

In 2012, the then archbishop of Kraków, Stanisław Dziwisz, was also informed of alleged abuse by Jan W., reports Gazeta.pl. Dziwisz, a former private secretary to Pope John Paul II, has previously been accused of ignoring cases of abuse and accepting bribes from those accused of carrying it out.

Jan W. was only removed from his parish in 2014 by Rakoczy’s successor, Roman Pindel. He remains in a place of seclusion as a result of his conviction in the church court.

Complete Article HERE!

Pope Francis removes archbishop tied to document barring same-sex blessings

Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was widely seen as being behind the March 2021 document that outraged the gay community, which Francis has made pains to welcome into the church fold.

Pope Francis delivers the Angelus noon prayer in St.Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022.

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Pope Francis took the first step Monday to reorganize the Vatican’s powerful doctrine office, removing the No. 2 official widely believed responsible for a controversial document barring blessings for same-sex couples because God “cannot bless sin.”

Archbishop Giacomo Morandi
“Bye Felicia”

Francis named Archbishop Giacomo Morandi, currently the secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, bishop of the Italian diocese of Reggio Emilia-Guastalla. The move amounts to a demotion since Morandi currently has the title of archbishop, yet is heading to a small diocese, not an archdiocese.

The Vatican said Morandi would nevertheless retain the title of archbishop “ad personam.”

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, or CDF, is one of the most important Vatican offices, interpreting doctrine for the universal Catholic Church, sanctioning dissenters and handling cases of clergy sexual abuse of minors. Morandi joined the CDF as an under-secretary in 2015 and was promoted to secretary, or the No. 2, in 2017.

He was widely seen as being behind the March 2021 document that outraged the gay community, which Francis has made pains to welcome into the church fold.

The document declared that the Catholic Church won’t bless same-sex unions because God “cannot bless sin.” The document said Francis had been informed of the document and “gave his assent” to its publication, but Francis was apparently taken by surprise by its impact.

Francis has since made several gestures of outreach to the gay Catholic community and their advocates, including a recent letter congratulating an American nun once sanctioned by the CDF, Sister Jeannine Gramick, on her 50 years of LGBTQ ministry.

The CDF is currently headed by the Jesuit Cardinal Luis Ladaria, but he is expected to retire relatively soon since he turns 78 in April, three years beyond the normal retirement age for bishops.

Aside from Morandi, there are two “additional secretaries” in the CDF, including the American Archbishop Joseph Di Noia, who also is due to retire soon since he turns 79 in July. The other is Archbishop Charles Scicluna, but he has a full-time job as archbishop of Malta.

The impending retirements and transfer of Morandi thus suggests some management changes at the office, though they probably won’t be announced until Francis releases the blueprint of his reform of the Vatican’s overall bureaucracy, expected sometime this year.

Complete Article HERE!

Archbishop Apologises For Fr David Muscat’s Absurd Anti-Gay Comments And Pledges To Take Action

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Archbishop Charles Scicluna has pledged to take action against a priest who drew widespread condemnation after comparing being possessed by demons or having schizophrenia to being gay.

“To all those who felt offended by those words, to the mothers, fathers and siblings of gay people who felt hurt and betrayed by the Church they love so much, I hereby ask for your forgiveness,” Scicluna said when delivering mass this morning.

“I’ll take action to ensure these things don’t repeat themselves.”

@lovinmaltaofficial Archbishop Scicluna addresses Fr David Muscat’s shocking Facebook comments on 20-year-old Abner Aquilina. #fyp #fypmalta #lovinmalta #malta #tvm ♬ original sound – Lovin Malta

Scicluna didn’t specify what kind of action he will be taking.

Father David Muscat, a priest known for his often anger-filled rhetoric aimed at minorities like the LGBT+ community, said yesterday on Facebook that being gay was worse than being possessed.

His comment was widely criticised, with Inclusion Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli personally reporting Muscat to police commissioner Angelo Gafa’ for hate speech and Equality Minister Owen Bonnici warning the priest “had crossed a line”.

The Malta Gay Rights Movement also called on the Archbishop to wake up and pay attention to what members of his own church are preaching.

Complete Article HERE!

Do right by victims of clergy abuse


Vermont’s Roman Catholic Bishop Christopher Coyne speaks about a report that found there were “credible and substantiated” allegations of the sexual abuse of minors against 40 priests in the state between 1950 and today. The report said all but one of the allegations occurred before 2000.

By Maura Labelle

The following letter was sent to Bishop Christopher Coyne on Dec. 8:

Why are you waiting for me and other clergy abuse victims to die?

As children at St. Joseph’s Orphanage, we were physically, mentally and sexually abused. In December 2020 you said the following during an interview on the WCAX program You Can Quote Me: “I absolutely believe that children were abused at the orphanage. No one is contesting that at all.” You know that there was abuse, yet you do everything you can to avoid helping the abused.

In 2019, you said the following on Vermont Public Radio: “We don’t have any money, there’s no more insurance, we have very limited unrestricted funds.” If the church doesn’t have funds, it’s because of its own actions to hide the money. You know very well that your predecessor, Bishop Salvatore Matano, worked with the church’s attorneys to put $500 million in diocese assets into individual trusts to protect those assets from lawsuits. At the time, Bishop Matano said his actions were to protect the parishes from “unbridled, unjust and unreasonable assault.” We would argue that the unbridled, unjust and unreasonable assaults were made by clergy against children.

In November of this year, you wrote to Vermont Catholics, asking them to give more to your statewide fundraising campaign called “Christ Our Hope: Building a Vibrant Church,” saying that you had already, in just three months last year, raised $4.4 million of your $10 million goal, with most of that money going to individual parishes rather than abuse victims. Of course, that distribution would also protect those funds from abuse lawsuits against the diocese.

Many individual parishes have closed, yet there is no discussion of using funds from those properties to make atonement or restitution with victims of abuse at the hands of clergy. The property which was home to the former Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in downtown Burlington is worth millions. Proceeds from its sale should be used to assist former orphanage residents, to make their lives better, as so many of us were unable to meet our potential due to the way we were abused by clergy during our childhoods.

It is also clear to us that the diocese likely paid millions of dollars to attorneys in its effort to avoid atonement for its sins against victims such as the children of St. Joseph’s Orphanage. I call on you to immediately disclose the amount of money the diocese used to line the pocket of its legal teams, as it should have gone to victims instead.

In the 1990s, Bishop Kenneth Angell settled with many orphanage survivors for the paltry sum of $5,000, and forced them to sign non-disclosure agreements in order to get the funds. Ironically, Bishop Angell was forcing the diocese’s own victims to become part of its cover-up. Many of us were not financially stable at the time and agreed under duress to Bishop Angell’s dictates. Bishop Coyne, you have waived the non-disclosure agreement. Now you need to acknowledge that the abuse suffered by children at the orphanage was worth far more than the $5,000 you paid victims, and re-open that part of the agreements.

I believe that your false statements regarding available funds and your inability to make restitution to abuse victims at the orphanage defy the eighth commandment, which calls for God’s people to be truthful. Clearly, the diocese is more concerned about the almighty dollar than it is about following the will of Almighty God. The only reason that funds are restricted is because the diocese itself restricted them to avoid accountability for abuse by clergy, caused by negligence by the diocese.

Clearly, you and other Catholic leaders are waiting this out, so that your responsibility to victims will disappear when we die. It’s time for the diocese to be accountable for its sins, as it requires the Catholic faithful to do. Please help us while we are still alive.

In 2019 you released a report finally identifying abusive priests from Vermont. You called their sins the “sins of the past.” But, Catholic Bishops nationwide recently released a report saying that there had been 4220 reports of abuse by clergy in the United States during the year ending June 30, 2021. And God only knows how many abuses went unreported. Please stop misleading Vermonters with slogans from lawyers and public relations people. These are not the sins of the past. Your experience as a spokesman for former Cardinal Bernard Law, the mastermind of the Boston clergy sex abuse cover-up, makes you especially adept at public relations. I wish you cared as much about doing the right thing.

All of us will be accountable to God for our actions on Earth. Remember Bishop Coyne, whatsoever you do to the least of my brothers and sisters, that you do unto me. I hope that during the Christmas season you can find it in your heart to do right by victims of clergy abuse.

Complete Article HERE!

SF church asks Archbishop Cordileone to re-schedule visit because he’s unvaccinated

St. Agnes Church, San Francisco

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The news that Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone is unvaccinated just cost him a visit to a church in San Francisco.

“Because Cordileone is not vaccinated and we’ve had breakthrough vaccinations in the church, I’m not comfortable. I’m not comfortable with him coming unvaccinated,” said Rita Clunies-Ross, St. Agnes Catholic Church parishioner.

December 19 was the day Archbishop Cordileone was scheduled to visit Saint Agnes Church. Several weeks before his visit, churchgoers like Rita Clunies-Ross voiced concerns. Now this church is taking a stance.

“I called him and spoke with him and asked him to re-schedule his visit for a later time because many people in the parish had expressed concern about this. I feel it is important that everyone feel safe, and we all do our part to prevent the spread of COVID-19, especially now with the new Omicron Variant. These are stressful times enough and I felt his pastoral visit to us would be overshadowed by concerns about the pandemic,” said a bulletin Pastor George Williams posted on the church’s website, letting the parishioners know Archbishop Cordileone won’t be visiting them for now.

The San Francisco Archdiocese has been outspoken about the COVID vaccine, encouraging San Franciscans to get vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the archbishop is unvaccinated.

“It’s not that he is saying we don’t want you. We would more than welcome you here if you came vaccinated, if you respect the community you are visiting,” said Clunies-Ross.

In a statement the Archdiocese responded, “Health care decisions are a very personal matter. Archbishop Cordileone has every confident in Father Williams’ ability to know his people well, and respond to their sensitivities with compassion.”

In August, Pope Francis urged people to get vaccinated, calling it an act of love.

During an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Cordileone said his personal doctor told him, “it’s probably not necessary for him to be vaccinated,” citing his “immune system is strong.”

“If there was some health reason I could see it. There is not religious reason from the Catholic Church that would stop you from being vaccinated. I can’t see another reason,” said Clunies-Ross.

Pastor Williams said to ABC7 news, “It’s our policy here that all the priests who celebrate Mass need to be vaccinated out of concern for our parishioners. When I explained this to his Excellency, he graciously understood. We look forward to his visit when circumstances permit.”

Complete Article HERE!