Vatican investigates gay-friendly Mexican bishop

Bishop Raul Vera Lopez of Saltillo, Mexico has told a Mexican newspaper he has received “a series of questions” from the Vatican about his support for the San Elredo community, which holds positions on homosexuality that are contrary to Church teaching.

“There has been a call from the Vatican and I am ready to clear things up … I have to respond to a series of questions that Vatican City has sent me about my work with homosexuals,” Bishop Vera told the newspaper Zocalo.

He said the Vatican inquiry has come about “because a Catholic agency based in Peru, ACI Prensa, has made false claims that I promote homosexual relations.”

ACI Prensa is Catholic News Agency’s Spanish-language sister publication.

He accused ACI Prensa of distorting his work. “They allege that I am against the magisterium of the Church and unfortunately they are driven by prejudice and phobias against the homosexual community.”

The request for clarification from the Holy See, he insisted, “is because this Catholic news agency has said outrageous things.”

Bishop Vera told the newspaper, “In the Diocese of Saltillo, we have very clear objectives. We work with (the gay community) to help them recover their human dignity, which is frequently attacked at home and in society, and they are treated like scum.”

“I am not against the magisterium of the Church, nor do I promote dishonesty. It would go against my principles to promote depravity and immorality,” he said.

In response to the Vatican inquiry, the coordinator of the San Elredo community, Noe Ruiz, told Zocalo the group would be willing to leave the diocese in order to prevent the work of Bishop Vera from being hindered.

“If tomorrow they come tell Bishop Raul Vera, ‘You are endangering your work in Saltillo because of such a small community, a network of barely 600 people,’ it would not be worth the risk,” he said.

In March of this year, Bishop Vera published a statement on the diocesan website expressing support for the “sexual, family and religious diversity forum.” The event was aimed at “eradicating what some sectors of the Church believe about homosexuality” — especially the belief “that homosexual actions are contrary to God.”

Father Robert Coogan, the American priest who founded San Elredo, maintained that the group’s work is not contrary to the teachings of the Church.

He added: “How can a person with same-sex attraction have a fulfilling life? And the only answer the Catechism gives is to tell them to be celibate, and that is not enough.

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Pro-gay bishop under fire

An unidentified group of people hung blankets on the railing that surrounds the Cathedral of Saltillo, Mexico with a message for Bishop Raul Vera Lopez: “We want a Catholic bishop.”

Employees at the Cathedral of Saltillo said they do not know who hung up the blankets or who took them down. “We don’t have them, and nobody here took them down,” said one employee.

According to the Mexican daily Vanguardia, the bishop chose not to respond to the July 12 protests against his leadership in the Diocese of Saltillo, where he has promoted and supported the San Elredo homosexual community, despite its positions that are at odds with Church teaching on homosexuality.

The diocese’s office of communications said Bishop Vega may issue a statement once he has been fully informed of the incident.

In June of this year, Noe Ruiz, the coordinator of San Elredo, said the group planned to ask newly elected local officials in the State of Coahuila to establish policies that respect homosexuals.

Ruiz added that his group planned to propose that same-sex couples be allowed to adopt and receive social security benefits, and that civil unions between them be called “marriage.”

The Diocese of Saltillo

In March of this year, Bishop Vera published a statement on the diocesan website expressing support for the “sexual, family and religious diversity forum.”

The event was aimed at “eradicating what some sectors of the Church believe about homosexuality” — especially the belief “that homosexual actions are contrary to God.”

Ruiz told CNA the purpose of the forum was to show that “two men or two women can raise a child and live normally like everyone else.”

Pro-family groups in Saltillo, such as the Familias Mundi Association, disagreed with that argument.

“We do not agree with forming same-sex families because families come from marriage, and marriage is a vocation that occurs between two people of the opposite sex who complement one another.”

CNA also interviewed Fr. Leopoldo Sanchez, who until a few months ago was the spiritual director for Courage Latino in Mexico, a ministry for homosexuals who wish to live according to the Church’s teachings.

“The Church reminds us that the right path is the path of love, a love that is lived in chastity, and absolutely all Christians are called to this, regardless of whether they have same-sex attraction or not,” he said.

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New Archbishop: Gay Marriage Stops Kids From Knowing Parents Love Them

The man who will become the new Archbishop of Philadelphia in September, Charles Chaput, came out swinging against same-​sex marriage equality today, suggesting that marriage between persons of the same gender is wrong because children need to know that their parents love them, and, somehow, same-​sex marriage denies children the knowledge that their parents love them. Chaput, the first Native American Archbishop, is heralded as an intellectual Evangelical leader. Chaput’s predecessor, Justin Rigali, and his predecessor, Anthony Bevilacqua have both been accused by a grand jury of covering up sexual abuse.

“As children, if we don’t know that our parents love one another, our lives are very unstable. That’s why I think every child deserves a family where the father loves the mother, and the mother loves the father,” Chaput says, illogically, regarding same-​sex marriage. If a child grows up with two fathers or two mothers, how will they not know they are loved by their parents? Typical religious attempt to de-​legimitize same-​sex headed households.

“This is the issue of our time,” Chaput adds, speaking of “gay marriage,” in an interview published today in the National Catholic Reporter. “The church understands marriage as a unique relationship, with a unique definition, which is the faithful love of a man and a woman for each other, permanent, and for the sake of children. As children, if we don’t know that our parents love one another, our lives are very unstable. That’s why I think every child deserves a family where the father loves the mother, and the mother loves the father. For us to redefine marriage as anything else undermines that notion. I think it’s very important that the church keep insisting on this.

“It’s also important to say that we’re not against gay people” Chaput says, towing the new line of religious rhetoric. Saying “we’re not against gay people,” while trying to de-​legimitize everything we do, including our relationships and our families, is ludicrous.

“What we’re doing here is promoting marriage and the meaning of marriage, not condemning others. The church does believe that human sexuality has a meaning in itself, that it’s about love and procreation. Any other sexual relationship is contrary to the Gospel, and so a relationship between two people of the same sex is not in line with the teachings of the church and the teachings of the Gospel, and is therefore wrong. That said, we should always respect people who do things contrary to the Gospel. We live in a society where different ways of life are accepted by the general community, and it’s important for us to live in a way that’s not hostile to people.

“We have a duty as Catholics, however, to speak clearly about God’s plan for human happiness. Part of that plan is traditional, faithful, Catholic/​Christian marriage.”

Once again, the Catholic Church is in direct contradiction with its congregants.

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Philadelphia Cardinal Rigali resigns after abuse probe

The archbishop of the US city of Philadelphia has resigned, months after renewed accusations that the Catholic Church covered up child sex abuse.

Cardinal Justin Rigali had submitted his resignation in April 2010 upon turning 75, but Pope Benedict XVI did not act on it until now.

Archbishop Charles Chaput of the US city of Denver is to replace him.

US grand juries in 2005 and 2011 said the church protected abuser priests and left some in contact with children.
Time limits

Cardinal Rigali has been Philadelphia archbishop since 2003 and his retirement was expected this year, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In 2005, a Philadelphia grand jury said Cardinal Rigali’s predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Bevilacqua, and his predecessor, Cardinal John Krol, knew priests were sexually abusing children but transferred the priests among parishes.

Time limits prevented that panel from bringing charges, however.

The archdiocese reacted by saying the grand jury’s report was “discriminatory” and “sensationalised” and accused investigators of “bullying” Cardinal Bevilacqua during his testimony sessions.

Cardinal Bevilacqua, however, repeated “my heartfelt and sincere apologies” to abuse victims.
Priests suspended

Then, in February 2011 a second grand jury report said at least 37 priests were kept in assignments that exposed them to children despite “substantial evidence of abuse”.

Cardinal Rigali responded by suspending more than 20 priests.

His successor, Cardinal Chaput, 66, is known as a staunch conservative and a vigorous opponent of abortion rights.

Last year he defended the decision by a Catholic school in Denver, Colorado to expel two children of a lesbian couple.

http://tinyurl.com/3wr5xly

Cloyne facts expose the pathology of the church

Unless the Catholic hierarchy examines its obsession with power it cannot reform itself

MUCH OF the Cloyne report brought no surprises to the people of Ireland and those of us in other countries who had anticipated its publication. In many ways it was a continuation of the revelations that came with the three commission reports that preceded it.

The report was met with the expected “heartfelt” expressions of regret, apology and even shock by officials of the Catholic Church, followed by promises of reform and the promulgation of yet more procedures, policies and boards. By now the Irish people, however, are beyond suspicion and cynicism. They have broken through another layer of the protective clerical veneer and have named the responses for what they are: a mendacious smokescreen.

It is no consolation to the Irish people but they are certainly not alone. This debacle in the Diocese of Cloyne is reflected in the recent publication of the report of the grand jury in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Five years after a first jury exposed widespread cover-up and shameful treatment of victims, followed by the usual promises to clean up the mess, a second grand jury found that the expressions of regret and promises of reform were a deceptive cover for an intentional lack of commitment to bring justice to victims and protect children.

Cardinal Seán Brady said that “grave errors of judgment were made and serious failures of leadership occurred”. Bishop John Magee admitted that the diocese “did not fully implement the procedures set out in church protocols”. What happened in Cloyne and in Ferns, Dublin, and the institutions cannot be dignified as “grave errors of judgment” or incomplete implementation of church protocols. The systemic sacrifice of the emotional, psychological and spiritual lives of innocent children for the sake of the image and power of the hierarchy was no error.

The commission of investigation into abuse in the Cloyne diocese learned that the destructive response to the reports of sexual abuse was not accidental or isolated but embedded in the fabric of the clerical culture. The members of all four commissions are to be highly commended for their courage in rising above the long-standing tradition of unquestioned deference to the hierarchy to reveal in detail the disgraceful and infuriating systemic disregard of the innocent children.

The three preceding reports were indeed shocking and scandalous. But the report carries the revelations even further in three important ways: naming the Vatican as an integral part of the problem; exposing the cynical use the concept of “pastoral care” as an excuse for obstructing justice; and acknowledging that the church cannot be trusted faithfully to comply with its internal regulations, much less the demands of the civil law.

When the reality of widespread sexual violation of the young by clergy was first exposed in the US in 1985, Pope John Paul II and the Vatican remained mute for six years. When questioned, Vatican spokesmen distanced not only themselves but the rest of the world by asserting it was an “American problem”. In his first public statement on June 11th, 1993, the pope tried to shift the blame to the secular media, whom he accused of “sensationalising” evil. He concluded his letter with: “Yes dear brothers, America needs much prayer lest it lose its soul.”

It was not long before tragic events in Newfoundland, Austria and Ireland clearly dislodged the papal efforts at denial. The recognition of widespread sexual molestation by clerics in several continental European countries, in South America and most recently in the Far East, have confirmed this is a worldwide problem not only of sexual violation by dysfunctional clerics but, even worse, a problem of intentionally self-serving and destructive responses by the bishops.

THE DIRECT ROLE of the Vatican in enabling and even directing the cover-up, stonewalling and obstruction of justice has been suspected for years. The report made a vitally important breakthrough by describing in concrete detail the essential role the Vatican played in the disgrace of the diocese.

The report points to two serious deficiencies in the Vatican response. The first is the papal nuncio’s refusal to co-operate with the commission during the Dublin and Cloyne investigations, as well as his lukewarm response to the horrific contents of the report. The second and far more treacherous aspect is the direct attempt to sabotage the Irish bishops’ 1996 policy document Child Sexual Abuse: Framework for a Church Response .

The commission found this document contained a “detailed and easy to implement set of procedures”. Yet, before it could adequately be put into practice, the papal nuncio, Archbishop Luciano Storero, sent the Irish bishops a letter passing on the concerns of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy. The letter clearly reflected the reactionary attitude of Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, who was prefect at the time. He erroneously labelled the policy “merely a study document”.

This most outrageous and at the same time erroneous sentence gave the Irish bishops licence to ignore their own procedures but also the civil law.

The Vatican response has been the defence of the hierarchy and the scandalous lack of concern for the victims. There are the expected expressions of regret, sorrow and promise of prayers which serve only to confuse and even anger the victims and are a very thin cover for the consistent pattern of self-serving support and protection of the bishops.

The clerical culture that cannot comprehend the depth of evil and destruction it has enabled has failed to internalise the reality that in this 21st century sacrificing the welfare of innocent children to maintain the image and power of an ecclesiastical aristocracy is a disgrace that will be the catalyst for an inevitable and profound change in the nature of the institutional church.

The rapid disintegration of the absolute control of the Irish hierarchy over Irish society is the result not of the lack of faith of the Irish people, as some in ecclesiastical leadership would like to believe, but in the lack of fidelity of the leadership to the people whom they have sworn to serve.

Msgr Denis O’Callaghan, Bishop Magee’s point man, openly opposed the framework document because it did not provide an adequate pastoral response. This masks a fundamental misunderstanding and misapplication of an authentic expression of pastoral care which is not an excuse for minimising the fact sexual violation of a minor is a serious crime in both canon and civil law.

WORSE STILL WAS the use of pastoral care as a justification for protecting the accused priests at the expense of justice for the victims. The report saw the misuse of the pastoral concept as a “scheme whereby counselling was provided to the complainant in a manner which was hoped would not attract any legal liability to the diocese”.

There is no evidence of effective pastoral care in the past or even today, only crisis management. There is no evidence from any of the four reports that the overriding concern of the hierarchy and clergy has been the physical, emotional and spiritual welfare of the victims. What would true pastoral care have looked like? Upon receipt of a report of the sexual molestation of a child or adult, the bishop’s first (and often only) concern would not be the maintenance of secrecy and protection of the priest. Rather, he would immediately seek out the victim and the victim’s family to make clear to them that in their hour of pain, confusion and humiliation at the hands of a cleric, they and not the cleric are the most important people in the diocese and indeed in the church.

The third breakthrough is the realisation that any structures or policies created by the church depend on the commitment of the bishops and the support of the priests. In Cloyne and elsewhere the bishops made promises, created policies and appointed boards and then proceeded systematically to subvert their rules and those of society.

Marie Collins, in her recent interview on RTÉ’s Prime Time , spoke the truth when she said that the promises and policies that have streamed from the bishops mean nothing. The report clearly reflects this sad reality: “It seems to the Commission that continuing external scrutiny is required.” Outside monitoring with serious consequences for neglect, and mandatory reporting by all clergy with possible jail time as a consequence for failure, are necessary responses.

The commission has probed deeply into the dysfunctional clerical culture of the Cloyne diocese. With this report, the threshold to a new level of awareness has been reached. The findings and conclusions, as probing and shocking as they may be, are not enough. What we have seen exposed in all four reports but most shockingly in the Cloyne document is the toxic nature of the clerical culture at the heart of the institutional church.

We must demand answers to even more radical questions. What is it about this culture that justifies living in an alternate reality that places image and clerical security far above the welfare of innocent children? Why does the “people of God”, as Vatican II described the church, need to function like a monarchy with an attendant clerical aristocracy?

Why the narcissistic obsession with power, secrecy and control? Until the bishops and priests look deeply into this culture and acknowledge its pathology, the outrageous behaviour exposed in the report will be part of a shameful history.

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