Black Victims Of Sexual Abuse By Catholic Priests Got Dramatically Smaller Settlements Than White Victims

Two Mississippi survivors received minuscule payouts compared to their white counterparts.

by Angela Wilson

Two Black male victims who received settlements over sexual abuse allegations against Catholic priests are coming forward to revealing that they were paid far less than white victims.

The Associated Press reports the Diocese secretly paid two Black men from Mississippi $15,000 each, requiring them both to sign NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements), also known as confidentiality agreements.

In 2006, the Catholic Diocese of Jackson settled lawsuits brought on by 19 different victims. Of those survivors, 17 are white and were paid at least $250,000 each — some up to $1.3 million — in similar settlements.

A Franciscan Friars official claims the settlement amounts had nothing to due with the two Black men’s race.

One victim, La Jarvis D. Love, who accused two Catholic priests of sexual abuse when he was 9-years-old, received a $15,000 payout during a meeting at an IHOP restaurant.

“He said if I wanted more, I would have to get a lawyer and have my lawyer call his lawyer,” Love said Rev. James G. Gannon, leader of a group of Wisconsin-based Franciscan Friars replied. “Well, we don’t have lawyers. We felt like we had to take what we could.”

At the time, Love was unaware other accusers who were white were paid significantly more in similar settlements when he was confronted by Rev. Gannon with legal paperwork.

Love’s cousin, Joshua K. Love, who also experienced physical and sexual abuse, was initally offered only $10,000. He eventually settled his abuse claim for $15,000. “They felt they could treat us that way because we’re poor and we’re Black.”

In 2018, the St. Paul-Minneapolis archdiocese agreed to pay an average of nearly $500,000 each to clergy abuse survivor.

Both men were attending St Francis of Assisi School when they were sexually assaulted by two Franciscans, Brother Paul West and Brother Donald Lucas, as small children. They claim they were beaten, raped, and forced to perform sexual acts.

Joshua recounted how, on some occasions, Brother West “gave me the option to whup me or play with my penis,” he said.

Brother West, now 59-years-old, declined to answer questions. Brother Lucas was found dead in a church in 1999 of an apparent suicide.

During an interview with the Associated Press, Rev. Gannon said he believes both La Jarvis and Joshua’s allegations. “We’ve hurt them tremendously and no amount of money would ever account for what happened to them,” he said.

In 2002, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops pledged to respond to abuse allegations in an “open and transparent” manner. Earlier this year, a mandatory church law was issued by Pope Francis requiring all Catholic officials to report sexual abuse, and abuse cover-ups, to their superiors.

Complete Article HERE!

Homeless At Saint Mary’s Cathedral Intentionally Drenched With Water While Sleeping

File under: Absolutely astonishing.  Just like Jesus would do.

By Doug Sovern

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — KCBS has learned that Saint Mary’s Cathedral, the principal church of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, has installed a watering system to keep the homeless from sleeping in the cathedral’s doorways.

The cathedral, at Geary and Gough, is the home church of the Archbishop. There are four tall side doors, with sheltered alcoves, that attract homeless people at night.

“They actually have signs in there that say, ‘No Trespassing,’” said a homeless man named Robert.

But there are no signs warning the homeless about what happens in these doorways, at various times, all through the night. Water pours from a hole in the ceiling, about 30 feet above, drenching the alcove and anyone in it.

The shower ran for about 75 seconds, every 30 to 60 minutes while we were there, starting before sunset, simultaneously in all four doorways. KCBS witnessed it soak homeless people, and their belongings.

A homeless man uses an umbrella to hold off the water. (CBS SF)
A homeless man uses an umbrella to hold off the water. (CBS SF)


“We’re going to be wet there all night, so hypothermia, cold, all that other stuff could set in. Keeping the church clean, but it could make people sick,” Robert said.

The water doesn’t really clean the area. There are syringes, cigarette butts, soggy clothing and cardboard. There is no drainage system. The water pools on the steps and sidewalks.

A neighbor who witnessed the drenching told KCBS, “I was just shocked, one because it’s inhumane to treat people that way. The second thing is that we are in this terrible drought.

Jennifer Friedenbach, executive director of the Coalition on Homeless said, “It’s very shocking, and very inhumane. There’s not really another way to describe it. Certainly not formed on the basis of Catholic teachings.”

A cathedral staff member confirmed to KCBS the system was installed, perhaps a year ago, to deter the homeless from sleeping there.

Chris Lyford, a spokesman for the Archdiocese, said cathedral staff tries hard to help these people.

“We refer them, mostly to Catholic Charities, for example for housing,” Lyford said. “To Saint Anthony’s soup kitchen for food, if they want food on that day. Saint Vincent de Paul if they need clothes.”

But he says they keep coming back, and most seem to have serious substance abuse issues.

“We do the best we can, and supporting the dignity of each person. But there is only so much you can do.”

Some of the homeless bring waterproof gear, even an umbrella, to try to stay dry. Frustrated cathedral employees tell us they don’t have the staff to police the doorways, which are used by churchgoers during services.

Lyford, who says he didn’t know about the water system until we showed it to him, admits it doesn’t seem to be an effective deterrent.

Then, suggests this church neighbor, turn it off. “I would hope that they would stop doing this, both for environmental reasons and for common decency.”

KCBS has also learned from a review of city permit records that the system was installed illegally, and may violate water use regulations.

The Archdiocese issued a new statement Wednesday morning about the story, saying the church will address the situation at the Cathedral immediately and will have further comment later in the day.

The statement goes on to say, “Catholic organizations in San Francisco serve thousands of homeless people every year, providing shelter, food, and critical services.  That is the true picture of compassionate Catholic care.”
Complete Article HERE!

Shame on you Sal! ArchbishopCordileone

Christian College Tried To Stop Bake Sale For Homeless LGBT Youth, But They Raised Thousands Anyway


A Christian college in Berrien Springs, Michigan is mired in controversy after administrators denied a request from a campus group to hold a bake sale for homeless LGBT youth, spurring students to turn their frustration into opportunity and raise thousands online instead.

The controversy began last September at Andrews University, a 3,500-student school affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist tradition, a conservative-leaning mainline Christian denomination. About midway through Fall semester, Aull4One, an unofficial pro-LGBT campus group that claims around 80 members, asked the administration if they could hold a bake sale to raise money for Project Fierce, an organization dedicated to assisting homeless LGBT youth. LGBT youth are disproportionately impacted by homelessness, often fleeing or being kicked out of homes where parents or guardians hold anti-gay religious beliefs.

But after six months of negotiations to get the event approved, Eliel Cruz, a co-founder and former president of Aull4One who identifies as both Christian and LGBT, received an email from school administrators denying the group’s request. Officials argued that donating to Project Fierce would “conflict with the missions of Andrews University,” primarily because the school is beholden to the views of the Seventh-day Adventist church, which is officially “opposed to homosexual practices and relationships.”

Administrators suggested students donate instead to Night Ministry, a nonprofit that serves a wide variety of Chicago’s homeless. But Eliel and the rest of Aull4One pushed back, noting that the ministry is not tailored to the specific needs of LGBT youth, and that using it would take the focus away from the unique struggles of LGBT people. (It is also unclear whether the administration was aware that Night Ministry regularly partners with Project Fierce.)

Aull4One suggested another organization that specifically targets LGBT youth, but the administration rejected that recommendation as well. Frustrated by months of effort, the students finally decided to take matters into their own hands: last week, the group launched its own online fundraiser for Project Fierce, saying the school’s repeated rebukes were “unethical and not at all Christ-like.”

The students were optimistic about the campaign, but say they were unprepared for what happened next: news of the campus controversy began to spread, with hundreds sharing their story on social media, funneling more and more visitors to the fundraising website. At present, the campaign has already raised almost $7,000 —“way more” than the group would have made on the original bake sale, according to Cruz.

But while the Internet’s compassionate response to the controversy is heartening to Cruz and other pro-LGBT students at Andrews, the college senior said many of his classmates remain “disappointed [and] upset” at their college’s leadership, in part because the issue of LGBT homelessness hits so close to home.

“There are at least 3 students that I know of that came to this campus homeless because of their LGBT identity, or left this campus [homeless] because of their LGBT identity,” he said. “That’s probably why this hurts more.”

The university has since issued a statement insisting they are not opposed to helping LGBT youth per se, but rather take issue with organizations that “advocate behaviors contrary to Adventist beliefs.” But members of AULL4One are unconvinced; in a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page, leaders argued the school’s refusal to allow the bake sale flies in the face of the very faith they claim to uphold.

“While Andrews University has every right to deny any event on its campus, we believe this refusal is contradictory to Jesus’ repeated calls to help those in need,” the statement read.

Jonathan Doram, current president of AULL4One, echoed this frustration in a blog post written by Cruz for the Religion News Service.

“What bothers me is the placement of policy over actual human lives,” Doram said. “If Andrews University was truly intentional about helping LGBT homeless youth, the fundraiser would have started months ago.”

Cruz said talks are ongoing with the administration, but it remains unclear what the resolution will be. In the meantime, however, the students remain resolute in their defense of LGBT rights, but have opted for a Christ-like stance moving forward.

“We’re trying to work with the administration to find points of reconciliation,” Cruz said.
Complete Article HERE!

Sculpture of Jesus the Homeless rejected by two prominent churches

Ontario sculptor struggled to find a home for his haunting sculpture of Jesus sleeping on a bench.

Jesus has been depicted in art as triumphant, gentle or suffering. Now, in a controversial new sculpture in downtown Toronto, he is shown as homeless — an outcast sleeping on a bench.

homeless jesus

It takes a moment to see that the slight figure shrouded by a blanket, hauntingly similar to the real homeless who lie on grates and in doorways, is Jesus. It’s the gaping wounds in the feet that reveal the subject, whose face is draped and barely visible, as Jesus the Homeless.

Despite message of the sculpture — Jesus identifying with the poorest among us — it was rejected by two prominent Catholic churches, St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York.

“Homeless Jesus had no home,” says the artist, Timothy Schmalz, who specializes in religious sculpture. “How ironic.”

Rectors of both cathedrals were enthusiastic about the bronze piece and showed Schmalz possible locations, but higher-ups in the New York and Toronto archdiocese turned it down, he says.

“It was very upsetting because the rectors liked it, but when it got to the administration, people thought it might be too controversial or vague,” he says. He was told “it was not an appropriate image.”

The Toronto archdiocese tried to help him find an alternative location, including St. Augustine’s Seminary in Scarborough. But Schmalz, who describes his work as a visual prayer, wanted to reach a wider, secular audience. “I wanted not only the converted to see it, but also the marginalized. I almost gave up trying to find a place.”

Now the sculpture stands near Wellesley St. W., outside Regis College at the University of Toronto. It’s a Jesuit school of theology, where priests and lay people are trained, with an emphasis on social justice.

Bill Steinburg, communications manager for the Toronto archdiocese, says the decision not to accept the sculpture at St. Michael’s may have had to do with renovations at the cathedral and “partly to do with someone’s view of the art.”

To some who have seen it, it speaks the message of the Gospels. When theologian Thomas Reynolds came upon it he felt “the shock of recognition.” He quoted the biblical passage: “ … the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”

“I’m so used to seeing images of Jesus that are palatable,” says Reynolds.

But recent depictions of Jesus in political and social contexts have spurred controversy.

At Emmanuel College, the educational arm of the United Church where Reynolds teaches, there is a graceful sculpture showing Jesus’ suffering in a crucified woman. Schmaltz says he intended that his Jesus the Homeless can be interpreted as either male or female.

At Regis College, there is a small crucifix of Jesus as a landmine victim, missing a leg; another at the college shows Jesus as an Aztec.

A sculpture in a church in Uckfield, England, shows a euphoric Jesus wearing jeans and a collared shirt.

In 2011, British sculptor David Mach, created an agonized, shouting Jesus out of 3,000 straightened coat hangers that emerge like barbs from the body.

Jesus the Homeless is provocative, says Reynolds, because it ‘punctures the illusion of normalcy.

“In certain ways, Christian communities have been privileged and considered themselves the norm in society and that has made Christians comfortable in our complacency.”

Schmalz, 43, roots the sculpture in his experiences in Toronto, where he trained at the former Ontario College of Art. “I was totally used to stepping over people. You’re not aware they are human beings. They become obstacles in the urban environment and you lose a spiritual connection to them. They become inert, an inconvenience.”

He now lives with his wife and family in St. Jacobs, Ont. When he returns to Toronto, he sees the city differently.

“A lot of people who don’t live in Toronto or a big urban place are shocked to see human forms under blanket on too many street corners.”

The Regis sculpture shows Jesus as a wanderer who depended on the hospitality of others, says Reynolds. “The counternarrative in Christianity is Jesus the outsider.”

Not all embrace this interpretation, as Bryan Stallings and his wife Amy discovered. They run a mission in Branson, Mo., called Jesus Was Homeless, where they serve about 1,000 people a week, many of whom live in the woods and extended-stay motels. They’ve been criticized for the mission’s name.

“People who have issue with it are usually the staunch religious people,” says Stallings, “especially those who follow prosperity teaching and doctrine that says if you are homeless or poor you don’t have enough faith.”

Critics tell him that Jesus wasn’t homeless. “Then we reference Scripture and it sparks tons of conversation.”

The Toronto sculpture, funded by Kitchener real estate developer Peter Benninger, is situated near the front entrance to Regis College. “It’s one of the most inviting and authentic representations of Jesus,” says Rev. Gordon Rixon, dean of the college. “There’s the suggestion there is the king and he is answering our culture with his poverty, vulnerability and weakness.”

Though the slender figure occupies most of the two-metre bench, Schmalz purposely left space at the end for someone to sit close to the slumbering figure, “as uncomfortably as possible.”

Complete Article HERE!

Roman Catholic Church Finances in the United States

The finances of the Roman Catholic Church tend to be well concealed. But a spate of bankruptcy cases in the US (8 out of 196 dioceses, with Honolulu teetering on the brink) has enabled The Economist to examine the situation in that country in more detail than is usually possible.

There are 74 million people in the US who describe themselves as Roman Catholic, and the expenditure of the Church is estimated as $170 billion in 2010. Of this, 57% was spent on health-care networks, 28% on colleges and universities, 6% on dioceses, parishes and schools, and 2.7% on charitable activities. Over 1 million people were employed (by comparison, the Walmart supermarket chain employed 2 million people). Less than a tenth of the income comes from church offerings; much of the rest comes from investments, property, wealthy businessmen, and local and federal government support for the hospitals, universities and schools. The Church in the US probably has about 60% of the total wealth of the Roman Catholic Church worldwide.

The Church has paid out $3.3 billion in settlements for child abuse over the last 15 years and this figure is expected to rise considerably. The dioceses are financially independent and the settlements are made by individual dioceses, which is why a number of them have gone bankrupt as a consequence of these settlements. Ten states are considering relaxing the time limitation on investigating child abuse, which could lead to the bankruptcy of several more dioceses. It is estimated that the Church is spending somewhere between $100 000 and $1 million a year in opposing the relaxation of this time limit. The child abuse scandal has led to a considerable reduction in donations to the Church and, at the same time, the shortage of priests and nuns has reduced the amount of the cheap labour available to the Church and has increased the running costs.

The rest of the report is somewhat technical but the following points emerge. Several dioceses have responded to their financial difficulties by raiding the priests’ pension funds. Between 1986 and 2002 the Diocese of Boston collected about $70-90 million in Easter and Christmas offerings, none of which was paid into the clergy retirement fund, although many parishioners thought that this was where the money was going.

Some dioceses have presented their funds as consisting of numerous different accounts for parishes, schools, hospitals, etc, when in fact there is just a single account. The parishes, schools and hospitals have then lost all their investments when the diocese has gone bankrupt.

Other dioceses, threatened with bankruptcy, have tried to shield their money by moving it out of diocesan accounts. In the ongoing Milwaukee bankruptcy case, the Archbishop of Milwaukee authorized a transfer of $55.6 million from the diocesan account into a cemetery fund. One Californian lawyer who has been involved in several of the bankruptcy cases says, ‘We have seen a consistent tactic of Catholic bishops to shrink the size of their assets, which is not only wrong morally but in violation of state and federal laws’. A whole city block in downtown San Diego was valued in the diocesan accounts at $40 000, the price that had been paid for it in the 1940s. The judge in the case was so irritated by the various ‘shenanigans’ that she ordered a special investigation into the diocesan finances.

The Economist report exposes considerable financial corruption in Roman Catholic dioceses in America but, as so often when dealing with the Church of Rome, there is a reluctance to draw conclusions. Somehow the idea is preserved that the Church of Rome is doing a lot of good in America. One would hope that, from her financial corruption, people would readily deduce her spiritual corruption, but they are remarkably slow to do so.

Complete Article HERE!