The bishops’ big guns in Trenton

By Star-Ledger Editorial Board

What if, during his recent travels with a couple of Catholic youth groups, the Rev. Michael Fugee had a relapse and groped another child? There’s no evidence that happened, but it’s a legitimate concern. There’s a reason prosecutors made him promise never to work with children again.

john_myers_newarkYears from now, what if a child says Fugee crossed a line?

As we speak, New Jersey’s Catholic leaders are spending big bucks to make sure the church, its bishops and, most importantly, its bank accounts can’t be held responsible for crimes committed on their watch.

Princeton Public Affairs Group is the most high-powered, high-priced lobbying outfit in Trenton. That’s whom the New Jersey Catholic Conference has hired to fight legislation meant to give victims of childhood sexual abuse the time they need to seek justice.

The bill, sponsored by Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex), extends the statute of limitations from two years to 30 years for victims to file suit against their abusers and the institutions that failed to protect them. That includes the Catholic Church, but it also covers all religious organizations, state and local governments, and schools.

The priest sex-abuse scandal has cost the Catholic Church $2.5 billion. Its interest in limiting the damages is obvious.

For some victims of childhood abuse, time is critical. It may take years before they can talk about it. When they’re finally ready, they should find a justice system that’s ready to listen.

If Catholic leaders get their way, many will be told they’re too late.

It’s not a new tactic. The church has lobbied states for stricter time limits for victims to sue their attackers and those who protected them. In New York, for example, the church helped stop legislation that opened “windows” for victims to sue for past abuse.

The priest sex-abuse scandal has cost the Catholic Church $2.5 billion since it broke a decade ago. The church’s interest is obvious. By hiring Princeton Public Affairs, it is pulling out the big guns. Vitale’s job just got harder.

Cutting costs might be good business, but trying to escape sins of the past by silencing victims is cowardly. Lawsuits are chances for those child victims, now grown, to have a voice. We have to be ready to hear them.

Complete Article HERE!

New book alleges indiscretions in the Philippine Church

A book launched on Friday is set to send shockwaves through the Philippines Church, with serious allegations about the behavior of bishops and clergy.

“Altar of Secrets: Sex, Politics, and Money in the Philippine Catholic Church,” describes an institution cloaked in secrecy.

Aries RufoIt claims that Church leaders have been concealing wrongdoings committed by bishops and clergy, including sexual misconduct, financial mismanagement, and corruption, for many years.

Author Aries Rufo, who researched the book over 20 years of covering the institutional church as a journalist, said he does not intend to destroy the reputation of the country’s bishops and priests.

“Are we out to destroy the Church? Of course the answer is no. How can one book destroy a Church that has been in existence for more than two thousand years?” Rufo said.

He said he has dedicated the book to “those who remain steadfast in their faith yet ache for reforms within the Holy Mother Church.”

Among its revelations, the book recounts how protégés of the late Cardinal Jaime Sin of Manila committed “indiscretions involving the opposite sex.”

Former Manila auxiliary bishops Teodoro Bacani and Crisostomo Yalung were both promising prelates before their fall from grace.

Yalung, who was 47 when the scandal happened, fathered two children with a 23-year-old woman. He later escaped to the United States where he now resides, after failing to account for millions of pesos of Church funds.

Bacani resigned as Bishop of Novaliches in 2003 after being accused of sexual harassment by his personal secretary. He denied the accusations but admitted making an “inappropriate expression of affection.”

He retains his episcopal office and continues to say Mass in the Archdiocese of Manila.

“Their cases are a microcosm of how Church superiors handle cases of sexual dalliances involving prelates – a conspiracy of silence on the pretext of an internal Church investigation,” says Rufo in the book.

“They show a Church which put its blind trust on its erring members, amid the mounting evidence and calls by lay leaders for an immediate investigation; a Church that was more concerned in protecting the privacy of its erring members than the welfare of the victim or victims; and a Church that was quick to condemn the other party as guilty, yet just as fast to absolve its erring member.”

Marites Danguilan Vitug, publisher and editor of the book, called it “the first of its kind” in the country and an attempt “to bring some air and light into a musty place, where there’s so little circulation and transparency.”

Vitug noted that the Catholic Church is one of the most impenetrable and least scrutinized institutions in the Philippines.

“In raising these issues about the Church, we want to encourage an open discussion that, hopefully, will lead to a more discerning public,” he said.

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic Priest Announces He Is Gay

By Jessica Lussenhop
In 2011, a slender book came out called Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest. The author was “Anonymous.”
“This book is for all of those who are being or have been driven away,” reads the introduction. “And that’s not just the gay population; it’s all of those who have accepted a member of their family, all of those who have allied as friends. They too have been silenced and shamed, ostracized by a Church teaching and hierarchal positioning that will not allow us to support, love, nurture and foster positive gay relationships in our Church.”

Father_Gary_MeierEarlier this week, Father Gary Meier, most recently of Saints Teresa & Bridget Parish in north St. Louis, revealed that he is the author. Although he says he was never truly “in the closet,” the announcement is a form of coming out.

“I know in my heart and my gut I need to stand in solidarity with those who’re being fired from their jobs, denied sacrament, excommunicated,” he tells Daily RFT.

Meier says that the church’s views on homosexuality were very different in the ’90s when he was in seminary. He says it was always known to his teachers, if not explicitly stated, that he is gay, and that so long as he was celibate, his orientation wasn’t seen as a problem. That changed when the pedophilia scandal broke in 2002.

“In 2005 they come with this hard stance of, ‘We’re not going to ordain gay priests,'” he says. “I was thinking I could try to find a way to reconcile my personal beliefs about being gay and what an incredible gift it is, not a cross, not an intrisic disorder…it was unsuccessful.”

He became frustrated enough to write Hidden Voices, then took a leave of absence in 2012 to earn his masters of counseling at University of Missouri-St. Louis. Finally, he resolved to stand behind his words in the book with his real name.

Here is what he posted to his personal website and to his Facebook page on Wednesday evening:


On May 23, 2013, I will be celebrating my 15 year anniversary to the priesthood. On the eve of this anniversary, I am releasing the 2nd edition of my book “Hidden Voices, Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest” which was originally published in 2011 anonymously. The second edition, now available, has one main difference – it is no longer anonymous. The decision to release the book under my name was not an easy one to make but one I felt was necessary.

It has been difficult to remain part of a hierarchy that has been so hostile towards homosexuals in recent years. This is especially true considering nearly 30% of all successful teenage suicides are attributed to sexual identity issues. Our church once stood for and represented the radical nature of God’s love for all people. That is not the true today – especially towards the LGBT community and therefore I feel compelled to stand in solidarity with those Catholic’s who have lost their jobs, have been denied the sacraments, have been excommunicated or who have been made to feel ‘less than’ by their church leaders because of who they love.

I am not sure where exactly any of this will lead. It is a huge leap of faith and to be perfectly honest with you, very frightening. I know that while many will celebrate and be grateful for this publication, others will be angry and upset and feel as if I am betraying the church. I have no such intention. I am just a man trying to live a life of integrity and speak the truth that God has given me to speak. I do not mean the church any harm and in fact I still love the church very much. I see my speaking out as an act of love toward a community which was born of God’s radical inclusivity. Somehow we have lost that in our church, I would like us to get that back.

It is my hope that you will take a moment to read my book with an open mind and heart and see this as an opportunity to love, support and welcome all people regardless of their sexual orientation. In the meantime please know that I will be praying for you and our church and ask for your prayers as well. In addition, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments – I will look forward to hearing from you.

Meier says he also sent a copy of his book and a letter revealing himself as the author to the archbishop this week.

“Of course, the biggest obstacle is fear. The fear of the backlash, the loss of faculties, loss of income, loss of social status,” says Meier. “I don’t know what their response will be…whether the diocese takes away my faculties or not, I’m not going to use them.”

Here’s the statement from the Archdiocese of St. Louis in response to Father Meier’s news:

The Archdiocese of St. Louis just learned that Fr. Gary Meier authored the book “Hidden Voices, Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest” which was originally released anonymously in 2011. On May 22, 2013, Fr. Meier will release a 2nd edition of this book under his name.
Fr. Meier has been on leave for the past year for reasons of vocational discernment.

As a man who experiences same-sex attraction, Fr. Meier has before him an opportunity to be an example and mentor to Catholics in the archdiocese who struggle with the same feelings. Whether he will seize this opportunity to proclaim the Gospel of Life which offers the truth about the beauty and sanctity of human sexuality, is entirely within is his control.

The Church does not condemn individuals for having same-sex attraction. It teaches that all people are called to responsibility regarding sexuality — whether they are homosexual or heterosexual, priest or lay person.

Our Catholic faith teaches that we are defined by something far deeper than sexual orientation; rather we are defined by our identity as children of God. We agree with Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI when he said, ‘Every human being is loved by God the Father. No one need feel forgotten, for every name is written in the Lord’s loving heart.’ We encourage Catholics and all people of faith to pray for our culture.

As to whether or not Meier will ever be allowed to have a parish again, a spokeswoman for the Archdiocese says “there is no comment at this time with regard to Fr. Meier’s future.”

Even Meier himself doesn’t have much comment on his future — he’s not sure if he’ll attempt to continue being a priest or if he’ll enter a more secular existence. But he doesn’t regret his time so far as a man of the cloth.

“I have no doubt I was called into the priesthood,” he says. “Pretty amazing stuff has happened with God working through me.”

Meier is having a second book launch and discussion at UMSL on Tuesday.

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic Priest Hosting Gay “Sports Camp” To Convert Homosexuals Through Athletics

File under: What a brilliant idea! This same thing worked so well for all of us gay priests.


Me thinks this Father Paul Check guy just wants to be around a bunch of hot and sweaty homo jocks. Hey Fr. Paul, we can totally see right through you. You are scary creepy, just like your predecessor, Father john Harvey, OSFS.



After figuring out that electroshock therapy and gay conversion therapy didn’t really work, a Catholic seminary in Wynnewood, PA has come up with yet another suggestion on how to force grown men into changing their sexuality. You know, because they chose it in the first place.

same-sex atraction sports

The organization, run by Father Paul Check, is planning the 14th year of a weeklong Catholic “sports camp,” which will help men to shed their homosexual desires through playing contact sports with other barely-clothed, sweaty, and presumably sexy gay men.

Check believes the lack of contact sports at an early age can lead men to develop homosexual tendencie

Something smells fishy, and we’re not the only ones that think it. Ed Coffin, a member of Peace Advocacy Network, tells NewsWorks’ Elizabeth Fiedler he plans to protest the annual hookup mecca:
s, and hopes to extract the “shame” gay men feel while playing sports with other men. Father Check may be on to something—there aren’t any gay men in major league sports, and if there are, they never win medals or feel accepted.

“It’s very clear what this organization does is focus on turning people who are homosexual–basically trying to change them into heterosexuals or at least get them to live a completely chaste lifestyle–which requires them to not act on any of their homosexual inclinations,” Coffin said. “It falls under the broader realm of conversion therapy. We do feel that this is very detrimental, that’s it’s psychologically damaging.”FatherPaulCheck

And before you knock it, just listen to the satisfaction it brings men who are no longer interested in other men. This testimony, given by “Louis” on the sports camp’s website, proves there’s absolutely nothing homoerotic about sweaty men hugging other sweaty men:

“One time a teammate gave me a sweaty celebratory hug. He was humbly secure in himself, just as he was, selflessly and joyfully showing affection to others. I also liked when one man, whom I’d felt intimidated by, gave me a pat on my belly, meaning “way to go!” His touch made me feel accepted as one of the guys.”

Where do we sign up?

Complete Article HERE!

Cardinal Keith O’Brien still a danger, say abuse accusers

Complaints of Vatican whitewash as O’Brien leaves Scotland for penance in exile

by Catherine Deveney
The four men whose accusations of sexual misconduct led to the dramatic resignation of Britain’s leading Catholic cleric as archbishop have attacked a Vatican announcement last week that he will leave the country for a period of “prayer and penance”. The three priests and one ex-priest, whose complaints were first reported in the Observer in February, say Cardinal Keith O’Brien should have been sent for psychological treatment instead.

Cardinal Keith O'BrienOne of the priests warns: “Keith is extremely manipulative and needs help to be challenged out of his denial. If he does not receive treatment, I believe he is still a danger to himself and to others.”

The four men are demanding an investigation into O’Brien’s “predatory behaviour” and say that stripping him of his cardinal status should not be ruled out. Despite making statements to the papal nuncio three months ago, they have heard nothing about a formal investigation into the cardinal, who was a vociferous public opponent of homosexuality.

“Removing O’Brien from Scotland might temporarily reduce the embarrassment to the church authorities but this story has not been fully told yet,” says Lenny, the ex-priest complainant. “We have been patient but I’m still waiting to be told what, if any, process the church has in mind.”

“They’re all passing the buck on this,” agrees one of the priests. “It’s a smokescreen. We need an investigation and Keith needs to be challenged by professionals to acknowledge the damage he has done to people, himself and the church.”

The Vatican’s statement followed O’Brien’s recent return to Dunbar, in his old diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh, where he was due to retire. Peter Kearney, director of communications for the Catholic church in Scotland, told the Observer that no one in Scotland had the authority to challenge O’Brien’s behaviour, his return to Scotland or his residence in church property. “We are part of the Roman Catholic church and the ultimate authority for the way the church functions in Scotland lies in Rome. The only person who is senior to the cardinal is the pope.”

“That,” says one complainant, “is farcical.” “I don’t care about red hats,” says another, “but if the red hat is shoring up his perceived power, it has to go.”

Although there is no official investigation by the Scottish church, behind the scenes Bishop Joseph Toal of Argyll and the Isles has been asked to talk informally to the complainants. “It’s been hard listening to what’s being said,” he admitted to the Observer. “But it’s important we hear what they’re saying and the gravity of the situation. If I can help in some way, I will.”

Calls for an investigation have been backed by Catholic theologian Professor Werner Jeanrond, master of St Benet’s Hall at Oxford University. “Instead of dealing with issues we are constantly presented with this half-baked solution of removing people. It is not a grown-up church handling this case. I am in favour of investigation on the personal level, so that he can own up to his concealment and own his own life again, but because he was in the clerical life it also has to be a formal investigation. We also have to have an investigation into why we are in this mess.”

O’Brien’s downfall reveals a bigger tragedy, argues Jeanrond. “As a church, we have failed to come to terms with homosexuality. Once and for all we have to face up to the fact that there are homosexuals, gays, lesbians and transsexuals.” Jeanrond has been shocked by the absence of an organised laity in Britain compared with other European countries. “As soon as something happens on the clerical side, the whole church is paralysed. That’s ridiculous. Is the whole of Jesus’s mission coming to an end because Keith O’Brien has sinned?”

The four complainants say an investigation is about justice, not vengeance. “I will give forgiveness if asked,” says one, “as long as the damage has been recognised. At times, we don’t do ourselves a lot of good by throwing pardon around like confetti without a change of heart. I am angry at the system that licked his boots and allowed him to get on with it.”

Complete Article HERE!