Polish archbishop stirs anger with child sex abuse comments

File under:  Insulated, monolithic, callous, tone deaf church power structure.

 

By Dagmara Leszkowicz

The comments from Archbishop Jozef Michalik entrenched the view among some younger Poles that the church is out of touch with modern society and failing to properly confront allegations of sexual abuse by priests.

POLAND/In comments shown on Tuesday by broadcaster TVN24, Michalik said child sexual abuse by priests was unacceptable, but the debate about it needed to be broadened out beyond the immediate physical or psychological wounds inflicted on the victims.

“And one has to say … how many wounds are inflicted when parents divorce? We often hear that this inappropriate attitude (paedophilia), or abuse, manifests itself when a child is seeking love,” said the clergyman, who is head of the Roman Catholic episcopate in Poland.

“It (the child) clings, it searches. It gets lost itself and then draws another person into this.”

After the comments were broadcast, Polish social media networks reverberated with angry comments.

“This is disgusting, and is soaked in a sick logic, when a victim is responsible for a crime,” wrote one person, who gave her name as Anna, posting on Facebook.

Another poster on the site, who identified himself as Adam, wrote: “While reading this, we can only be happy that this ‘Polish institution’ has committed ritual suicide.”

Church authorities later on Tuesday convened a news conference to try to calm the outrage. A spokesman for the episcopate said the archbishop’s comments had been a “a pure slip of the tongue” and the archbishop has been misunderstood.

Michalik himself, who was present at the news conference, apologised for the situation. “The context of my comment was as follows: a child is always innocent. But it can be hurt not only by priests but also by its own environment,” he said.

Poland is one of Europe’s most devoutly Catholic countries. The church’s role at the centre of public life was cemented when clergymen, led by Polish-born Pope John Paul II, helped bring down Communist rule in the late 1980s.

That role is now being challenged by a generation of Poles who feel uncomfortable with the church’s traditional views on issues such as abortion, divorce and same-sex partnerships.

While the Catholic church in countries such as Ireland and the United States has taken steps to be more assertive about uncovering child sex abuse by priests, in Poland it remains largely a taboo subject.

Abuse allegations are reported from time to time in the Polish media, but there has so far been no far-reaching public debate about the issue.

Pope Francis said soon after he was elected as Roman Catholic pontiff this year that he wanted to act decisively to root out sexual abuse of children by priests and ensure the perpetrators are punished.

Complete Article HERE!

Popular Stockton priest announces he’s fathering a child

Dean McFalls, a well-known priest in the Stockton Diocese, has resigned after telling parishioners he’s about to become the father of a baby boy.

“I definitely have disappointed many people,” McFalls said. “That’s why I’ve talked about it openly, so they won’t be left guessing about what’s going on.”

Dean McFallsMcFalls was the pastor at St. Mary’s Church in downtown Stockton. He announced his resignation in a statement read during mass on Sunday.

McFalls came to Stockton in 2008 from Lathrop’s Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, according to The Record newspaper in Stockton. He has been outspoken about the city’s struggles with crime and violence, among other issues.

The Catholic Church requires priests to be celibate and unmarried. McFalls discussed those rules and his resignation in an interview with News10’s Tim Daly.

“If the situation in the Catholic Church were different, I would be a better man,” he said. “More stable, more effective in the long run as a human being.”

McFalls would offer little information about the woman about to give birth to his child.

“She’s a better person than I,” he said.

McFalls said it’s not clear what he’ll do after leaving the Stockton Diocese. He said he told Bishop Stephen Blaire about two weeks ago what was happening.

Watch Tim Daly’s report during the 6 p.m. newscast on News10.

Full text of statement by Father Dean McFalls read during mass:

“Dear Friends, I wish to express my profound sorrow that, beginning today, I will no longer be serving as your pastor. I have been blessed by your support and participation during the past five years. However, I have been granted a leave of absence from active ministry in the priesthood, and thus have also resigned as pastor of St. Mary’s. I would have remained longer, at least until our parish festival concludes, but circumstances did not allow this to be. A child will soon be born, and I am the baby’s father. I know this comes as a shock to you, and to many a disappointment. I assume full responsibility for my actions and will do all that I can so that my child receives the care and love that he deserves. Once he was conceived, I had no other option, as a Christian and a priest, than to do everything possible that he might have life, and have it to the full. As St. Paul told the Romans: “God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his decree,” and though the Lord never decreed that I sin, he does command that all life be respected and nurtured.

“I apologize sincerely to each and every one of you for any grief, hurt, or sense of abandonment that you may experience. Please welcome the priest who has come to take my place with generous hearts. Know that I will miss you deeply, and that you will always be carried in my heart. Fr. Dean”

Full text of statement from Stockton Bishop Stephen Blaire:

“September 21, 2013

“Dear Parishioners of St. Mary’s,

“With sadness in my heart, I announce to you that your Pastor, Father Dean McFalls, has requested a leave of absence from active ministry in the Priesthood for personal reasons which do not allow him to continue in active ministry as a priest. I have granted the leave of absence and have accepted his resignation as Pastor of St. Mary’s Parish.

“I have appointed Father Jose Luis Gutierrez, the Diocesan Director of Vocations and Associate Pastor at Presentation Parish, as the interim administrator. Please welcome him at this time and support him.

“Also be assured of my prayers for all of you at St. Mary’s. The well-being of the parish and you the parishioners weighs heavily on me. I trust in God in the days ahead.

“Sincerely Yours in Christ,

“Bishop Stephen Blaire”

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic Chaplains Won’t Bury Married Gay Soldiers

File under:  For the love of Jesus!

 

“No Catholic priest or deacon may be forced by any authority to witness or bless the union of couples of the same gender. No Catholic priest or deacon can be obliged to assist at a [marriage counseling retreat] if that gathering is also open to couples of the same gender…

“Participation in retirements, changes of command, and promotion ceremonies is possible, as long as the priest is not required to acknowledge or approve of a ‘spouse’ of the same gender.

“While the tradition of the Catholic Church always tries to find reasons to bury the dead, a priest may not be placed in a situation where his assistance at a funeral for a Catholic would give the impression that the Church approves of same sex ‘marital’ relationships.”

 

Renewed Fidelity in Favor of Evangelization

Archbishop Broglio has issued a steatement which provides guidance for Catholic chaplains and contract priests and deacons who may encounter ministry situations involving Catholic or non-Catholic parties in same gender “marital” relationships.  The full text for Archbishop Broglio’s statement Renewed Fidelity in Favor of Evangelization can be found below:

pope_Broglio“As members of the Church founded by Jesus Christ to meet the needs of the baptized and to proclaim that good news about the salvation given by Him, we are also aware of His clear teaching about the danger of scandal (Mt. 18:6). This world is a pilgrimage to life without end. At the conclusion of our walk through life we must stand before the Throne of Grace to give an accounting of our fidelity.

St. Paul reminds priests to be all things to all people (1Cor. 9:22). A clear disservice is rendered if the truth of the Gospel is confused by the actions of those ordained to disseminate that truth. The current situation makes it necessary to reiterate with clarity the teaching of the Catholic Church regarding homosexuality. However, it must never be forgotten that the human condition occasions many failings. St. Paul continually reminds us of that fact in his letters to the communities of believers.

Priests ordained to minister Word and Sacrament and endorsed to serve Catholics in the Armed Forces, the Veterans Administration Medical Centers, and those who serve the US Federal Government outside the borders of the United States of America know that theirs is a twenty-four-seven vocation. By speech, action, and example they witness to the truth revealed by the Lord in all that they do (see Eph. 4:14).

Recent changes in interpretations of the laws of the Federal Government oblige me to recall what is clearly held by the Catholic Church. At the same time I am grateful to the Congress of the United States for its passage of renewed conscience-protection language, specifically for chaplains in the Armed Forces.

Ministry

No Catholic priest or deacon may be forced by any authority to witness or bless the union of couples of the same gender. No Catholic priest or deacon can be obliged to assist at a “Strong Bonds” or other “Marriage Retreat”, if that gathering is also open to couples of the same gender. A priest who is asked to counsel non-Catholic parties in a same-gendered relationship will direct them to a chaplain who is able to assist. Catholic parties will, of course, be encouraged by the priest to strive to live by the teaching of the Gospel.

Participation in retirements, changes of command, and promotion ceremonies is possible, as long as the priest is not required to acknowledge or approve of a “spouse” of the same gender.

While the tradition of the Catholic Church always tries to find reasons to bury the dead, a priest may not be placed in a situation where his assistance at a funeral for a Catholic would give the impression that the Church approves of same sex “marital” relationships (see CIC, c. 1184, §1,3º). In the case of doubt, the Archbishop for the Military Services, USA must be consulted (see CIC, c. 1184, §2).

Lay Ministries

Obviously, anyone who is known to be in a sinful relationship is excluded from ministries in the Catholic community. While this list is not intended to cover every situation, lectors, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, altar servers, catechists, and members of the Catholic Council immediately come to mind.

Participation

We are also mindful of the Lord’s words, “Let the one among you who is guiltless be the first to throw a stone…” (Jn. 8:7b). The Church must minister to all regardless of their sexual inclination. While the invitation to conversion cannot be diluted, the door to the mercy of Christ, obtained through His Cross, must be kept open. Priests and deacons will be guided by the principles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (cf. nos. 2358-2359) and never forget that it is the sin that is hated and never the sinner.

In the quest for continued fidelity to the truth of the Gospel, it must not be forgotten that estimates indicate that same-gender couples represent less than half of one percent of those in the Armed Forces. While every individual is important, such a small group cannot be allowed to mandate policy for all.

Guidance for Catholics in Command Positions

I am not unaware that the faithful entrusted to my pastoral care also include those Catholics who exercise command positions. They can be faced with additional questions as they fulfill their responsibilities to those above and below them in the chain of command. Consequently in response to a doubt raised by the AMS regarding the question of a person’s possible cooperation with evil, the National Catholic Bioethics Center (NCBC) stated:

“Commanders of United States military installations/veterans’ facilities (hereafter, ‘commanders’) would not be engaging in morally illicit cooperation, but rather tolerable remote mediate material cooperation with evil by implementing federal employee benefits accruing pursuant to same-sex marriage, as required by United States v. Windsor. Our determination is contingent on the situations in which commanders are unable to avoid such cooperation without jeopardizing their own just right to their employment security for themselves and/or their families. This is also contingent on the commander making known his/her objection to being required to so participate, as well as on attempting through legal channels to continue to accomplish changes in policy consistent with the historic understanding of marriage and family as based on natural moral law. Also, if without incurring a demotion of loss or downgrade of position/rank/grade or other serious harm, there is a mechanism to have others more senior in the chain of command to carry out the implementation of such policy, this should be pursued.”

Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio
Archbishop for the Military Services

Melbourne Priest Greg Reynolds Defrocked And Excommunicated By The Vatican

File under:  Nice goin’ Francis!  You talk a good line, but when push comes to shove, you’re just like your predecessor.  SHAME!

By Anne Lu

Melbourne priest Greg Reynolds has not only been defrocked, but also excommunicated by the Catholic Church over his support for women priests and homosexuals. The order came directly from Vatican under the authority of Pope Francis, who just recently said that the Church focuses too much on gays and abortion.

Fr-Greg-ReynoldsMr Reynolds resigned as a parish priest in 2011, and has founded Inclusive Catholics in 2012. He said that although he was expecting to be laicised or defrocked for his views on ordination of women and homosexuality, he didn’t know he was to be excommunicated as well.

Excommunication is a form of medicinal penalty for members of the Catholic Church. Those who are excommunicated are barred from receiving the Eucharist and other Sacraments of the church.

“In times past excommunication was a huge thing, but today the hierarchy have lost such truth and respect,” he was quoted by The Age as saying.

“I’ve come to this position because I’ve followed my conscience on women’s ordination and gay marriage.

The order, written in Latin, came from Vatican through the authority of Pope Francis, and gave no reason for the former priest’s excommunication.

The letter was dated May 31, months before the Pope told his subjects to go easy on how they deal with gays, abortion, and contraception. Mr Reynolds continued to The Age that he wants the same thing as the Pope, adding that he believes that the Church is in need of reform and renewal.

“My motivation is trying to encourage reform and clear need for renewal in the church,” he said. “I still love the church and am committed to it, I’m just trying to bring about in my own little way to help highlight some of the failing and limitations.”

Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart, who made headlines in May after appearing at a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into a child sex abuse case of another priest, apparently was not the one who requested the order, “but someone else unknown has gone over his head and contacted the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith,” Mr Reynolds said.

Archbishop Hart explained that Mr Reynolds was excommunicated because he continued to celebrate the Eucharist publicly after his priestly faculties were withdrawn. He was also preaching contrary to the teachings of the church.

As per its official Web site, Inclusive Catholics is an evolving movement/community in Melbourne that has recognises the hierarchical nature of the Catholic Church, but opposes its views on homosexuality and the ordination of women.

Mr Reynolds said that his being excommunicated would not make a different to his ministry.

He was offered $5000 as a payout for his 32 years of service in the church when he resigned, though he claimed he should have received $48,000 as the usual payout figure is about $1500 per year.

Complete Article HERE!

Catholic Priest, Caught With Pantless 15-Year-Old In Pennsylvania

A Pennsylvania priest has been charged with molesting a teenage boy after police allegedly found him in a car on a college campus with a 15-year-old who was wearing no pants, according to a police criminal complaint filed Friday in Lackawanna County.

JEFFREY-PAULISHFather W. Jeffrey Paulish was charged with one felony count of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and one felony count of unlawful contact with a minor after Dunmore police say they found him and the boy on Thursday in a car on the Worthington Scranton campus of Penn State University, according to the complaint.

Paulish, 56, of Scranton, was also charged with three misdemeanor counts — indecent contact with a person under 16, indecent exposure and corruption of a minor. He is being held at the Lackawanna County jail on $50,000 bail.

Dunmore police officers say they discovered Paulish and the boy after responding to a call of a suspicious vehicle, according to an arrest warrant affidavit filed with the court.

Allegedly Paulish told police he was at the campus working on his homily when he met the teen, who he said was in emotional distress, and began counseling him.

According to the affidavit, he later admitted to police that he had arranged the meeting with the teen through the “casual encounters” section of Craigslist. Paulish told investigators that he had asked the boy three times if he was over the age of 18, the affidavit said.

A telephone message left by CNN for Paulish’s attorney, Bernard J. Brown, was not immediately returned Friday.

Paulish has been removed from his post at the Prince of Peace parish and has been suspended from acting in the capacity of a priest, according to a statement released by the Diocese of Scranton.

The diocese pledged its cooperation with the investigation, and it called on anyone who “may have been sexually abused by Father Paulish or any member of the clergy” to notify the district attorney’s office.

“I wish to acknowledge how unsettling this is to me personally and to countless others, that yet again a priest has been involved in such inappropriate, immoral and illegal behavior,” the Bishop of Scranton, the Rev. Joseph Bambera, said in the statement.

Complete Article HERE!