Southern Religion

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George backs away from gay pride/KKK comparison

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George is attempting to back away from his comparison of gay pride marchers to the KKK. According to ABC 7 Chicago, he said:

Obviously, it’s absurd to say the gay and lesbian community are the Ku Klux Klan, but if you organize a parade that looks like parades that we’ve had in our past because it stops us from worshipping God, well then that’s the comparison, but it’s not with people and people — it’s parade-parade.

He’s under fire, as Think Progress explains: has released a petition calling for the resignation of Catholic Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, following comments the Cardinal made to FOX Chicago Sunday comparing the gay rights movement to the Klu Klux Klan’s anti-Catholicism. Equally Blessed, an umbrella group of pro-LGBT rights Catholic organizations, has reinforced the pushback by releasing a statement declaring in part that George, “has demeaned and demonized LGBT people in a manner unworthy of his office. In suggesting that the Catholic hierarchy has reason to fear LGBT people in the same way that blacks, Jews, Catholics and other minorities had reason to fear the murderous nightriders of the Ku Klux Klan, he has insulted the memory of the victims of the Klan’s violence and brutality.”

It was at best a historically uninformed comparison for him to make.

December 26, 2011 Posted by | Catholic, Politics | , | Comments Off on Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George backs away from gay pride/KKK comparison

Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George on the gay pride parade

The money quote. Cardinal George said:

“You don’t want the gay liberation movement to morph into something like the Ku Klux Klan, demonstrating in the streets against Catholicism.” he said on FOX Chicago Sunday .

December 24, 2011 Posted by | Catholic, Politics | , | 1 Comment

What should Catholic politicians who support Roe v. Wade say?

Mark Silk led us to this from George Dennis O’Brien’s new book:

Stop trying to avoid the issue by saying that you are personally opposed to abortion or that you accept the Church’s views on abortion, but it is not your responsibility as a legislator to impose your moral will on the country. That is a cop-out. Any-slavery legislators in the nineteenth century did not retreat into personal opinion or religious cover–they thought that there was something wrong with the law of the land that needed radical change. The problem with abortion for a sensible legislator is not whether it is right or wrong, religious or impious; it is that it cannot be legislated away. When rounded on by one’s local bishop for “supporting abortion,” don’t duck for cover–ask the bishop just what law he would recommend that would accomplish the prohibition of abortion. You won’t likely get an answer.

November 11, 2010 Posted by | Church/State | , , | Comments Off on What should Catholic politicians who support Roe v. Wade say?

Charges, reports, upside-down leadership and belated promises

Brazilian Msgr. Luiz Marques Barbosa was detained Sunday after a congressional hearing provoked by television broadcast of a video which was secretly filmed in January, 2009, by a 21-year-old man who charges Barbosa had abused him since age 12.

In Chile, the Roman Catholic Church on Tuesday said 20 confirmed or alleged cases of child abuse by priests:

Monsignor Alejandro Goic, head of Chile’s bishops’ conference, said that in five of the cases sentences had been imposed, in another five trials were still under way, and in 10 others priests had been absolved or results were pending.

A Mexican citizen has filed suit against US cardinal Roger Mahony and Mexican cardinal Norberto Rivera for intentionally covering up a pattern of child sex abuse by former priest Nicolas Aguilar. AFP reports:

The case claims that Aguilar demonstrated a pattern of sexual abuse of minors that was known to Rivera, who nonetheless authorized his transfer to the Los Angeles Archdiocese in 1987. The suit alleges Rivera sent Mahony a letter detailing Aguilar’s “homosexual problems,” including information about alleged child sex abuse, but the Mexican priest was allowed to remain in his office.

Canon lawyer and a civil lawyer Thomas J. Paprocki, who the Associated Press reports once blamed the devil for sexual abuse lawsuits against the Roman Catholic Church and proposed shielding the church from legal damages, was appointed the new bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois.

Pope Benedict XVI, speaking in Rome at his weekly audience, promised “action” on abuse by priests.

April 21, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Religion | , , , , | 1 Comment

New top leadership required for the Legionaries of Christ

Legionaries of Christ

Removal of top Legionaries of Christ leadership is necessary and likely to attend actions following the apostolic visitation, Sandro Magister wrote in L’Espresso yesterday. It seems likely that “Vatican authorities will put the Legion under the command of an external commissioner endowed with full powers” over the organization, and findings suggest that the leadership must be replaced if renewal is to occur. For example:

According to some of the testimonies given to the apostolic visitors in recent months, some in this group knew about the founder’s double life, about the carnal acts he performed with many of his seminarians over the span of decades, about his lovers, his children, his drug use. But in spite of that, a fortress was built around Maciel in defense of his virtues, devotion to him was fostered among his followers, all of them unaware of the truth, his talents were emphasized, even among the upper hierarchy of the Church. This exaltation of the figure of the founder was so effective that even today it inspires the sense of belonging to the Legion among many of its priests and religious.

The cohesion of the leadership group, originating from its decades-long connection with Maciel, endures today in the bond that binds and subordinates everyone to Corcuera, and even more to [Luís Garza Medina, vicar general and director of the organization’s Italian province].

As a result, there are questions regarding whether to treat as “trustworthy” the “distancing of the Legion’s leaders from their founder, and in particular from the “sudden revelation” – or so they say – of his misdeeds?”

That “distancing” occurred by way of a statement on the Legion’s Web site in which they took the extraordinary step of disowning their founder.

At the same time, the embedded leadership is taking steps to ensure its survival of the Pope’s installment of an external commissioner.

Magister explains:

Freed from the annoyance of the visitors, and not yet subjected to the command of the commissioner, during this interim period which they are hoping will last for “several months” they are doing everything they can to consolidate their power and win the support of the majority of the 800 priests of the Legion, and of the other religious and lay members.

Maneuvering, reform and restoration? We will see.

March 30, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Cults | , , | 1 Comment

Legionaries ask forgiveness and disavow their founder

The Legionaries of Christ’s leaders have apologized once again, and have in a formally constructed statement taken the extraordinary step of disowning their founder. On the Legion’s Web site, they said of their founder:

For his own mysterious reasons, God chose Fr Maciel as an instrument to found the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, and we thank God for the good he did. At the same time, we accept and regret that, given the gravity of his faults, we cannot take his person as a model of Christian or priestly life.

Christ condemns the sin but seeks to save the sinner. We take him as our model, convinced of the meaning and beauty of forgiveness, and we entrust our founder to God’s merciful love.

The language of the admissions seemed well calculated, like their well-timed admissions just over a year ago. For example, they said:

We had thought and hoped that the accusations brought against our founder were false and unfounded, since they conflicted with our experience of him personally and his work. However, on May 19, 2006, the Holy See’s Press Office issued a communiqué as the conclusion of a canonical investigation that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) had begun in 2004. At that time, the CDF reached sufficient moral certainty to impose serious canonical sanctions related to the accusations made against Fr Maciel, which included the sexual abuse of minor seminarians. Therefore, though it causes us consternation, we have to say that these acts did take place.

Indeed, “the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, […], mindful of Father Maciel’s advanced age and his delicate health, decided to forgo a canonical hearing and ask him to retire to a private life of penance and prayer, giving up any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions” (Communiqué of the Press Office of the Holy See, May 19, 2006).

We later came to know that Fr Maciel had fathered a daughter in the context of a prolonged and stable relationship with a woman, and committed other grave acts. After that, two other people surfaced, blood brothers who say they are his children from his relationship with another woman.

We find reprehensible these and all the actions in the life of Fr Maciel that were contrary to his Christian, religious, and priestly duties. We declare that they are not what we strive to live in the Legion of Christ and in the Regnum Christi Movement.

Their apology, however, was sweeping and inclusive. Most important was their commitment to provide continuing support to those who have been harmed:

It is also our Christian and priestly duty to continue reaching out to those who have been affected in any way. Our greatest concern is for them, and we continue to offer them whatever spiritual and pastoral help they need, hoping thus to contribute to the necessary Christian reconciliation. At the same time, we know that only Christ is able to bring definitive healing and “make all things new” (cf. Rev. 21:5).

Lest anyone wonder about the pope’s ability to impose the decisions he bases upon the apostolic visitation, they promised to accept those, whatever they are:

We will embrace with filial obedience whatever indications and recommendations the Holy Father gives us as a result of the apostolic visitation, and we are committed to putting them into practice.

Altogether the letter seemed not so much a dodge as a necessity, dictated by their circumstances, as they said.

March 26, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , , | Comments Off on Legionaries ask forgiveness and disavow their founder

Not just the charism of the Legion of Christ

Houston Seventh-day Adventist and one-time Catholic Bill Cork goes to the theological heart of the debate over the future of Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi. The central Catholic theological question is of charism. As Cork explains:

In Catholic theology and spirituality of religious life, founders of religious orders have a unique charism (gift of the spirit) that the church is affirming when it establishes that order. But what happens when it is revealed that the founder was evil? That’s what the Catholic church is wrestling with now in the wake of the revelations about Fr. Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi. And it’s also clear that the church knew there were problems from the very beginning. As a young man, Maciel was booted from one seminary to another – formators saw he had problems. He began gathering boys to himself, and grooming them to imitate his spirituality, mandating that they never speak ill of him, but always reverently call him “Nuestro Padre.” He created a regimented order of priests, based on the Roman legions. He mandated their behavior down to minute details such as how they used knife and fork, how they sat, how they dressed, and how they laughed. “The Stepford priests” is how some referred to them.

Read the rest here. It deserves a thorough reading. Especially:

The lesson in all of this for me is that conservatives need to be very careful in reacting to problems in the church (any church). You may be unhappy with things being done in the name of your church, with theological dissent and with those who question traditional morality. You may see those on the conservative edge as being a counter balance. You may be drawn to their zeal, and their orthodoxy and orthopraxy. But beware. Satan can pull people off track to the right as well as to the left. He can appear as an angel of light, so that the very elect run the risk of being deceived. Be careful.

March 8, 2010 Posted by | Religion | , , , , | Comments Off on Not just the charism of the Legion of Christ

Where clerical apologies are no charm against enforcement of the law

Apologies from bishops apparently aren’t considered an adequate substitute for enforcement of the law in Germany. According to CNN:

Investigators with the Munich State Prosecutors Office visited the Benedictine Abbey of Ettal on Tuesday afternoon as part of their ongoing investigation into allegations of sexual abuse of underage children by priests there.

,p>Authorities are now assessing evidence collected at the abbey, the prosecutors said.

The overarching scandal emerged in January, centered on a single school, and has been followed by a parade of disclosures whose pattern resembles that in Ireland and the U.S.

Once again, the Catholic church protected its authority, at the expense of the parishioners.


What does the church do with offenders? The Irish Times, working from an Irish investigative report, found some had taken refuge, often still in the Catholic church’s pay. The Belfast Times reports that some were or are in the U.S.

March 3, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , , , , | Comments Off on Where clerical apologies are no charm against enforcement of the law

Dutch Catholic sexual abuse scandal snowballs: Investigation called for

One of the most powerful members of the Dutch Salesian order is among those accused of abusing men who are now adults, when they were boys.

Like the German revelations which erupted into public view in late January, this is snowballing as “the first testimonies of possible abuse at the hands of the Salesians in the 1960s and 1970s,” first reported by NRC Handelsblad last week, provokes others to break their long silence.

Because the problem is believed to have been widespread, and involved the current bishop of Rotterdam, Ad van Luyn, Dutch elected officials are calling for an independent inquiry, reports Radio Netherlands:

Conservative MP and former public prosecutor Fred Teeven told NOS Radio, “Normally in such cases, there would be a police and justice investigation. But you can’t do that now because the statute of limitation says the crimes are too long ago. In this case it would be wise if a team of experienced sex crime detectives is appointed in collaboration with the Roman Catholic Church, in order to conduct an independent investigation into what happened.”

Following the revelations on Friday, Bishop Van Luijn of Rotterdam also said he wanted to launch an investigation. Bishop Van Luijn is currently chairman of the Dutch bishops conference. He was a teacher at the ‘s-Heerenberg school at the time of the abuse and he later became head of the Salesian order in the Netherlands. Immediately after the revelations a spokesperson from the bishop’s palace turned down pleas for an inquiry, saying that it was up to the current head of the school to account for what may have happened, but Bishop Van Luijn said on Sunday he was appalled by the findings of the reporters.

Christian Democrat MP Marleen De Pater told NOS Radio that she first wants to see the results of Bishop Van Luijn’s inquiry before deciding on the next step. She appeared reluctant to involve the police or legal authorities from the outset.

Ms De Pater said, “Bishop Van Luijn is taking the initiative to scrutinise his own organisation to find out what happened. That is a display of responsible behaviour, and I assume he will engage independent experts. On the basis of their findings we could decide whether more research is needed with the involvement of police and legal authorities.”

The Irish did “more research” and found a sweeping, decades deep breach of trust by the Catholic Church — part of what is ever more clearly an unresolved, multinational issue. Reluctant apologies for the long-concealed horrors, unaccepted.

March 3, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Crime, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , , , , | Comments Off on Dutch Catholic sexual abuse scandal snowballs: Investigation called for

Catholic Church making adjustments to DC Marriage Act [Update: Way cleared to act to take effect]

The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., has declared that it “will be in compliance” with the requirements of the city’s same-sex marriage act [.pdf], which takes effect Wednesday, and that the church will as a result maintain a quarter of a million dollars worth of social services contracts.

Some members of the religious right made a last ditch pitch to Congress, asking passage of legislation requiring a public vote — a strategy already rejected by the DC Board of Elections and Ethics [.pdf]. DC Superior Court refused prevent the act from going into effect.

Reversal on appeal is not expected, and Congress is not expected to act.

What adjustments the Archdiocese of Washington will make is unclear. It has already shut down its adoption and foster-care services, transferring “seven staff members, 43 children and their families, and the 35 foster families” to the National Center for Children and Families (NCCF) for future administration.

Placing children with same-sex couples has been a sticking point elsewhere because it involves a direct collision with matters of Catholic doctrine, but successful adjustment in administration of other services does not seem unlikely.


U.S. Supreme Court Justice John G. Roberts “denied a last-minute request Tuesday afternoon for a stay of the District’s same-sex marriage law, disappointing opponents of the measure, who wanted to bring it before city voters in a referendum,” the Washington Post reported Tuesday afternoon.

Apparently, D.C. can begin accepting applications by gay couples for marriage licenses tomorrow morning.

Read the rest of the story here.

Catholic Charities denies coverage to spouses of all new hires

Catholic Charities adaptation is to deny benefits, thus escaping the possibility of providing coverage to the spouses of gay marrieds.

In a March 1 letter, President and CEO Edward J. Orzechowski informed employees that health benefits will be denied the spouses of all new employees, although coverage for those who are employees as of March 1, will be unaffected.

March 1, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Law, Religion, SBC | , , , | Comments Off on Catholic Church making adjustments to DC Marriage Act [Update: Way cleared to act to take effect]