Archive for July, 2018
July 28. 2018
Philip Wilson in his magic penis hat
July 28, 2018
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The nun no longer goes to confession regularly, after an Italian priest forced himself on her while she was at her most vulnerable: recounting her sins to him in a university classroom nearly 20 years ago.
At the time, the sister only told her provincial superior and her spiritual director, silenced by the Catholic Church’s culture of secrecy, her vows of obedience and her own fear, repulsion and shame.
“It opened a great wound inside of me,” she told the Associated Press. “I pretended it didn’t happen.”
After decades of silence, the nun is one of a handful worldwide to come forward recently on an issue that the Catholic Church has yet to come to terms with: The sexual abuse of religious sisters by priests and bishops. An AP examination has found that cases have emerged in Europe, Africa, South America and Asia, demonstrating that the problem is global and pervasive, thanks to the universal tradition of sisters’ second-class status in the Catholic Church and their ingrained subservience to the men who run it.
Some nuns are now finding their voices, buoyed by the #MeToo movement and the growing recognition that adults can be victims of sexual abuse when there is an imbalance of power in a relationship. The sisters are going public in part because of years of inaction by church leaders, even after major studies on the problem in Africa were reported to the Vatican in the 1990s.
The issue has flared in the wake of scandals over the sexual abuse of children, and recently of adults, including revelations that one of the most prominent American cardinals, Theodore McCarrick, sexually abused and harassed his seminarians.
The extent of the abuse of nuns is unclear, at least outside the Vatican. Victims are reluctant to report the abuse because of well-founded fears they won’t be believed, experts told the AP. Church leaders are reluctant to acknowledge that some priests and bishops simply ignore their vows of celibacy, knowing that their secrets will be kept.
However, this week, about half a dozen sisters in a small religious congregation in Chile went public on national television with their stories of abuse by priests and other nuns — and how their superiors did nothing to stop it. A nun in India recently filed a formal police complaint accusing a bishop of rape, something that would have been unthinkable even a year ago.
Cases in Africa have come up periodically; in 2013, for example, a well-known priest in Uganda wrote a letter to his superiors that mentioned “priests romantically involved with religious sisters” — for which he was promptly suspended from the church until he apologized in May. And the sister in Europe spoke to the AP to help bring the issue to light.
“I am so sad that it took so long for this to come into the open, because there were reports long ago,” Karlijn Demasure, one of the church’s leading experts on clergy sexual abuse and abuse of power, told the AP in an interview. “I hope that now actions will be taken to take care of the victims and put an end to this kind of abuse.”
TAKING VICTIMS SERIOUSLY
The Vatican declined to comment on what measures, if any, it has taken to assess the scope of the problem globally, what it has done to punish offenders and care for the victims. A Vatican official said it is up to local church leaders to sanction priests who sexually abuse sisters, but that often such crimes go unpunished both in civil and canonical courts.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the issue, said only some cases arrive at the Holy See for investigation. It was a reference to the fact that the Catholic Church has no clear measures in place to investigate and punish bishops who themselves abuse or allow abusers to remain in their ranks — a legal loophole that has recently been highlighted by the McCarrick case.
The official said the church has focused much of its attention recently on protecting children, but that vulnerable adults “deserve the same protection.”
“Consecrated women have to be encouraged to speak up when they are molested,” the official told the AP. “Bishops have to be encouraged to take them seriously, and make sure the priests are punished if guilty.”
But being taken seriously is often the toughest obstacle for sisters who are sexually abused, said Demasure, until recently executive director of the church’s Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the church’s leading think tank on the issue.
“They (the priests) can always say ‘she wanted it,’” Demasure said. “It is also difficult to get rid of the opinion that it is always the woman who seduces the man, and not vice versa.”
Demasure said many priests in Africa, for example, struggle with celibacy because of traditional and cultural beliefs in the importance of having children. Novices, who are just entering religious life, are particularly vulnerable because they often need a letter from their parish priest to be accepted into certain religious congregations. “And sometimes they have to pay for that,” she said.
And when these women become pregnant?
“Mainly she has an abortion. Even more than once. And he pays for that. A religious sister has no money. A priest, yes,” she said.
There can also be a price for blowing the whistle on the problem.
In 2013, the Rev. Anthony Musaala in Kampala, Uganda wrote what he called an open letter to members of the local Catholic establishment about “numerous cases” of alleged sex liaisons of priests, including with nuns. He charged that it was “an open secret that many Catholic priests and some bishops, in Uganda and elsewhere, no longer live celibate chastity.”
He was sanctioned, even though Ugandan newspapers regularly report cases of priests caught in sex escapades. The topic is even the subject of a popular novel taught in high schools.
In 2012, a priest sued a bishop in western Uganda who had suspended him and ordered him to stop interacting with at least four nuns. The priest, who denied the allegations, lost the suit, and the sisters later withdrew their own suit against the bishop.
Archbishop John Baptist Odama, leader of the local Ugandan conference of bishops, told the AP that unverified or verified allegations against individual priests should not be used to smear the whole church.
“Individual cases may happen, if they are there,” he said Thursday. “Individual cases must be treated as individual cases.”
PRIESTLY ABUSE OF NUNS IS NOT A NEW PROBLEM
Long before the most recent incidents, confidential reports into the problem focused on Africa and AIDS were prepared in the 1990s by members of religious orders for top church officials. In 1994, the late Sr. Maura O’Donohue wrote the most comprehensive study about a six-year, 23-nation survey, in which she learned of 29 nuns who had been impregnated in a single congregation.
Nuns, she reported, were considered “safe” sexual partners for priests who feared they might be infected with HIV if they went to prostitutes or women in the general population.
Four years later, in a report to top religious superiors and Vatican officials, Sr. Marie McDonald said harassment and rape of African sisters by priests is “allegedly common.” Sometimes, when a nun becomes pregnant, the priest insists on an abortion, the report said.
The problem travelled when the sisters were sent to Rome for studies. They “frequently turn to seminarians and priests for help in writing essays. Sexual favors are sometimes the payment they have to make for such help,” the report said.
The reports were never meant to be made public. The U.S. National Catholic Reporter put them online in 2001, exposing the depths of a scandal the church had long sought to keep under wraps. To date, the Vatican hasn’t said what, if anything, it ever did with the information.
Sister Paola Moggi, a member of the Missionary Combonian Sisters — a religious congregation with a significant presence in 16 African countries — said in her experience the African church “had made great strides” since the 1990s, when she did missionary work in Kenya, but the problem has not been eliminated.
“I have found in Africa sisters who are absolutely emancipated and who say what they think to a priest they meet who might ask to have sex with them,” she told the AP.
“I have also found sisters who said ‘Well, you have to understand their needs, and that while we only have a monthly cycle a man has a continuous cycle of sperm’ — verbatim words from the ’90s,” she said.
But the fact that in just a few weeks scandals of priests allegedly molesting sisters have erupted publicly on two other continents — Asia and Latin America — suggests that the problem is not confined to Africa, and that some women are now willing to break the taboo to denounce it publicly.
In India, a sister of the Missionaries of Jesus filed a police report last month alleging a bishop raped her in May 2014 during a visit to the heavily Christian state of Kerala, and that he subsequently sexually abused her around a dozen more times over the following two years, Indian media have reported. The bishop denied the accusation and said the woman was retaliating against him for having taken disciplinary action against her for her own sexual misdeeds.
In Chile, the scandal of the Sisters of the Good Samaritan, an order dedicated to health care in the diocese of Talca, erupted at the same time the country’s entire Catholic hierarchy has been under fire for decades of sex abuse and cover-ups. The scandal got so bad that in May, Francis summoned all Chilean bishops to Rome, where they all offered to resign en masse.
The case, exposed by the Chilean state broadcaster, involves accusations of priests fondling and kissing nuns, including while naked, and some religious sisters sexually abusing younger ones. The victims said they told their mother superior, but that she did nothing. Talca’s new temporary bishop has vowed to find justice.
The Vatican is well aware that religious sisters have long been particularly vulnerable to abuse. Perhaps the most sensational account was detailed in the 2013 book “The Nuns of Sant’Ambrogio,” based on the archives of the Vatican’s 1860s Inquisition trial of abuse, embezzlement, murder and “false holiness” inside a Roman convent. Once word got out, the Vatican poured the full force of its Inquisition to investigate and punish.
It remains to be seen what the Vatican will do now that more sisters are speaking out.
ONE SISTER’S STORY — AND YEARS OF HURT
The sister who spoke to the AP about her assault in 2000 during confession at a Bologna university clasped her rosary as she recounted the details.
She recalled exactly how she and the priest were seated in two armchairs face-to-face in the university classroom, her eyes cast to the floor. At a certain point, she said, the priest got up from his chair and forced himself on her. Petite but not frail, she was so shocked, she said, that she grabbed him by the shoulders and with all her strength, stood up and pushed him back into his chair.
The nun continued with her confession that day. But the assault — and a subsequent advance by a different priest a year later — eventually led her to stop going to confession with any priest other than her spiritual father, who lives in a different country.
“The place of confession should be a place of salvation, freedom and mercy,” she said. “Because of this experience, confession became a place of sin and abuse of power.”
She recalled at one point a priest in whom she had confided had apologized “on behalf of the church.” But nobody ever took any action against the offender, who was a prominent university professor.
The woman recounted her story to the AP without knowing that at that very moment, a funeral service was being held for the priest who had assaulted her 18 years earlier.
She later said the combination of his death and her decision to speak out lifted a great weight.
“I see it as two freedoms: freedom of the weight for a victim, and freedom of a lie and a violation by the priest,” she said. “I hope this helps other sisters free themselves of this weight.”
July 25, 2018
Acton Bowen, serial child rapist
We covered the case of Acton Bowen — an author, public speaker, and evangelist with ties to failed Senate candidate Roy Moore — earlier this year. He was taken into custody after being charged with second-degree sodomy, enticing a child to enter a vehicle or house for immoral purposes, and second-degree abuse.
Now, he’s facing a new charge on the same grounds.
According to court records made public Thursday, the 37-year-old founder of Acton Bowen Outreach, was indicted June 22 on a felony charge of traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act.
… [Bowen] was initially arrested in April on those charges brought by Hoover police. The victim in that case was a young male, but police did not release his age except to say he is over 12 and under 16.
The new indictment involves the same Hoover victim, and an alleged incident that happened around the same time as the other reported crimes.
Hoover police Capt. Gregg Rector said the department’s Special Victim’s Unit first launched the investigation three weeks prior to Bowen’s April 10 arrest. According to Alabama law, a person commits the crime of [second-degree] sodomy if he or she, being 16 years old or older, engages in deviate sexual intercourse with another person less than 16 and more than 12 years old.
This story seems to be getting more intense. While the victim is the same, Bowen is now accused of traveling in order to commit the crime.
On the new charge, the indictment states Bowen “did knowingly and willfully travel within this state, to this state, or from this state by any means, or attempted to do so, or knowingly causes another person to do so or attempt to do so, for the purpose of engaging in any unlawful sex act with a child, including sexual intercourse, sodomy, a sexual performance, obscene sexual performance, or other sexual conduct for the benefit of (Bowen).” His bond on the new charge is set at $60,000 but he is being held in the Jefferson County Jail on no bond.
In addition to charges and arrests in numerous regions, there’s also a warrant out against Bowen from the Bay County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. Authorities say they expect more charges against him in more counties, and that the FBI is involved.
There’s no telling how big this case will get, or how Bowen was able to keep his godly disguise on for so long, but I am glad he’s in custody and unable to hurt any kids. Hopefully those victims will get the justice they deserve.
July 17, 2018
Troy Anthony Piccaluga, child rapist
VICKSBURG, Miss. (AP) — A Methodist minister accused of having sex with two teenage girls has been arrested in Mississippi.
Warren County Sheriff Martin Pace told news media that 48-year-old Rev. Troy Anthony Piccaluga is charged with two counts of statutory rape and one count of sexual battery. He was charged Friday after being accused of having sex with girls between the ages of 14 and 16.
Piccaluga is the pastor at United Methodist churches in Eagle Lake and Redwood.
Pace says Piccaluga made contact with the girls between January and March.
Piccaluga is being held at the Vicksburg jail. It’s unclear if he has an attorney.
July 25, 2018
Mundhir Abdallah, calling for the killing of all Jews
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
July 29, 2018
Theodore McCarrick resigned today in response to child sex assault allegations. Good. now we all know how important you are. Not very.
July 27, 2018
“Do you know how important I am?” asks humble ‘servant of the servants of god’
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A Virginia man said Friday he was sexually abused for about two decades by Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, a prominent Roman Catholic leader who was removed from public ministry last month over separate child abuse allegations.
The man, who agreed to be identified only by his first name, James, told The Associated Press he recently filed a police report detailing the abuse with the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office. James, who first spoke publicly with The New York Times for a story published Thursday, said the abuse began when he was a child and continued into adulthood.
McCarrick was a close family friend, James said. The 88-year-old retired archbishop of Washington, D.C., is one of the highest-ranking U.S. church officials accused in a sexual abuse scandal that has seen thousands of priests implicated.
“I was the first guy he baptized,” James said. “I was his little boy. I was his special kid. I was the kid he always sought out.”
McCarrick, who did not immediately respond to an interview request from AP, has denied the abuse allegations that led to his removal last month by Pope Francis. The church announced June 20 that allegations were found to be “credible” that McCarrick fondled an altar boy in New York more than 40 years ago.
In a statement issued at the time of his removal, McCarrick said, “While I have absolutely no recollection of this reported abuse, and believe in my innocence, I am sorry for the pain the person who brought the charges has gone through, as well as for the scandal such charges cause our people.”
Asked Friday about James’ statements, a longtime friend of McCarrick’s who didn’t want to be identified because she doesn’t officially serve as his spokeswoman said he hadn’t received formal notice of any new allegation but would follow the civil and church processes in place to investigate them.
James said he struggled for decades with immense shame and guilt over the abuse, which he said had started by at least age 11 and extended for about two decades into his 30s. He said the abuse included McCarrick exposing himself, forcing him to sleep in the same bed and touching him inappropriately.
He said he struggled with alcoholism, which broke up his marriage, and attempted suicide multiple times. He’s been sober since he was 33, he said.
James recounted confronting McCarrick as an adult, telling him he was going to go public with his allegations.
“You can’t do that,” James says McCarrick told him. “No one’s going to believe you. You’re a drunk. You’re an idiot. … Do you know how important I am?”
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
July 29, 2018
Theodore McCarrick resigned today in response to child sex assault allegations. Good.
July 23, 2018
The Turin Shroud is a fake. Surprise, surprise, surprise!
That is the verdict of Catholic Bishop Pierre d’Arcis who has written to tell the Pope it was “a clever sleight of hand” by someone “falsely declaring this was the actual shroud in which Jesus was enfolded in the tomb to attract the multitude so that money might cunningly be wrung from them”.
Admittedly, since Bishop d’Arcis was writing in 1390, to Pope Clement VII rather than Pope Francis, this is not exactly new news.
But since some have refused to believe the bishop’s findings, or the 1988 carbon dating showing the shroud was from the medieval, not the Biblical era, or the subsequent debunking of claims disputing the carbon dating, scientists today are still studying the Turin Shroud.
And they are still concluding it is fake.
Some believe the Turin Shroud shows the face of Jesus – claims it is a forgery date back to at least 1390 (Shutterstock / I. Pilon)
In the latest, but almost certainly not final instalment, they have used modern forensic techniques to show that apparent blood spatters on the shroud could only have been produced by someone moving to adopt different poses – rather than lying still, in the manner of a dead and yet to be resurrected Messiah.
Forensic scientist Dr Matteo Borrini of Liverpool John Moores University and Luigi Garlaschelli of the University of Pavia used a living volunteer and real and synthetic blood to try to simulate possible ways that the apparent bloodstains could have got onto the shroud.
They concluded that two short rivulets of possible blood on the left hand of the shroud’s ghostly figure could only have been formed by someone who was upright with their arms at an angle of about 45 degrees.
This could be consistent with someone who had been crucified with their arms held in a Y shape. Unfortunately for shroud believers, however, the forearm blood stains would require the dead body to have been wrapped in the shroud with their arms in a different position – held almost vertically above their head, rather than at an angle of 45 degrees.
The researchers, whose findings have been published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences, formed the opinion that the supposed blood spatters seem to have fallen vertically and almost randomly from someone who might well have been standing over the cloth, rather than lying in it.
When it came to the supposed lance wound, their article A BPA [Blood Pattern Analysis] Approach to the Shroud of Turin concluded: “The BPA of blood visible on the frontal side of the chest (the lance wound) shows that the shroud represents the bleeding in a realistic manner for a standing position while the stains at the back—of a supposed post-mortem bleeding from the same wound for a supine corpse—are totally unrealistic.”
July 23, 2018
Super blood moon APOCALYPSE: Bible prophecy predicts End of World just ‘DAYS away’
BIBLICAL prophecy suggests the end of days is due this month as the Earth is set to witness a rare blood moon – doomsday preachers have claimed.
Even though the date has not yet arrived we’re going to go ahead and call it. The world didn’t end as predicted here and those of you who did believe it was going to are gullible idiots. Think about it – the same people who predicted the end of the world the last 350 times (and were wrong every time) predicted this one. Are you starting to see a trend?
Here is a hint for making predictions about the end of the world – make it far enough in the future that you don’t get your dick in a wringer during your lifetime. Make it, say, 200 years in the future.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
It didn’t happen.
July 21, 2018
Cops find $63,000 in the ceiling at lavish home of Michigan priest, 67, who embezzled $5million from his parish
July 20, 2018
Jonathan Wehrle, smug big time embezzler
More than $63,000 was found hidden in the ceiling of the home of a Michigan priest who is accused of embezzling more than $5million.
Police searched Reverend Jonathan Wehrle‘s lavish home in Williamston on Tuesday and found dozens of $2,000 bundles of cash totaling $63,392.
Wehrle, 67, was charged with six counts of embezzling $100,000 or more from St. Martha Church in Okemos last year.
Authorities have already seized $1.1million from Wehrle, and church auditors say more than $5million is missing, according to WLNS.
July 19, 2018
Kevin Berry – arrested for aggravated indecent liberties with a child