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The sex abuse crisis: the Vatican "scapegoats" gays for abuse crisis.

ARCHBISHOP EDWIN O'Brien, who is overseeing a Vatican-imposed evaluation of every seminary in the United States, has confirmed that the Vatican is seeking to impose a ban on homosexual men becoming priests. In an interview with a conservative Catholic newspaper, he said, "anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity, or has strong homosexual inclinations, would be best not to apply to a seminary and not to be accepted into a seminary." Speaking with the Associated Press, he went further, stating that the church must restrict the enrollment of gay men into the priesthood.

The Apostolic Visitation involves 117 bishops and Catholic officials visiting each of the 229 Roman Catholic seminaries in the US in teams of three or four. The teams will interview each seminarian, staff member and a selection of former seminarians. The interviewers will seek to examine how well each seminary prepares the seminarians for living the life of a priest, with special attention paid to moral theology and celibacy. They will also seek to ascertain if there is any "evidence of homosexuality" on campus.

The executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Matt Foreman, said, "This is part of the church hierarchy's calculated--and frankly, evil--campaign to scapegoat gay people for the decades of appalling sex abuse of children and young people that it alone created, nurtured and covered up."

Grand Jury Condemns Archdiocese's Inaction

A THREE-YEAR GRAND JURY investigation into how the Archdiocese of Philadelphia covered up and facilitated sexual abuse has resulted in a scathing critique of the archdiocese's leaders. The jurors found that Cardinals John Krol and Anthony Bevilacqua "excused and enabled the abuse," placing the legal and financial interests of the archdiocese over the protection of children. The statutes of limitations have expired so no prosecutions will be brought against those named.

The report singles out one official for special criticism. Msgr. William Lynn, now pastor of St. Joseph Church in Downingtown, who was head of the office that responded to abuse complaints under Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, is mentioned 652 times in the report, compared with Bevilacqua's 523.

The following is a selection of statements from the report (as detailed in the Philadelphia Inquirer):

* "The behavior of Archdiocese officials was perhaps not so lurid as that of the individual priest sex abusers. But in its callous, calculating manner, the Archdiocese's 'handling' of the abuse scandal was at least as immoral as the abuse itself."

* "Secretary for Clergy Lynn, often taking direction from the Archdiocese's attorneys, treated victims as potential plaintiffs. Not only did they not receive apologies acknowledging their abuse, but many were bullied, intimidated, lied to, even investigated themselves."

* "Msgr. Lynn's 'investigations' of abuse allegations were designed more to discredit the victims and conceal evidence of their abuse than to ascertain whether their alleged abuser was in fact a sexual abuser of children."

The Church and State

"The Vatican Is Not a State"

IN A DISPUTE WITH A UN official, the Vatican has claimed that it is not a state and has "no international obligations" to help the UN hunt down war criminals. The claim was made in a meeting between Carla del Ponte, the chief prosecutor of the United Nations international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, and Archbishop Giovanni Lajolo, Secretary for Relations with States.

Ms. del Ponte is in charge of the search for one of the most wanted war criminals from the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, General Ante Gotovina. She believes that Gotovina is being sheltered in a Franciscan monastery in his native Croatia. She said: "I have information he is hiding in a Franciscan monastery and so the Catholic Church is protecting him. I have taken this up with the Vatican and the Vatican refuses totally to cooperate with us."

"The Vatican Is a State"

THE VATICAN EMBASSY IN Washington has asked the US government to file a legal brief claiming that, as the Vatican claims statehood, Pope Benedict xvi should be granted immunity in a sexual abuse case. Three boys have brought a case alleging that Juan Carlos Patino-Arango, a Colombian-born seminarian on assignment at St. Francis de Sales church in Houston, molested them during counseling sessions during the mid-1990s. Patino-Arango has been indicted and is on the run.

In filing the brief, Assistant US Attorney General Peter Keisler said that, as pope, Benedict enjoys immunity as the head of a state. The US Supreme Court has held that US courts are bound by such "suggestion of immunity" motions submitted by the government, Keisler's filing says, so immunity should be expected. Daniel Shea, attorney for one of the three boys, has said that if the pope is granted immunity, he would challenge the constitutionality of the US diplomatic recognition of the Holy See on the grounds that it goes against the First Amendment's establishment clause barring laws respecting the establishment of religion.

The lawsuit alleges that Benedict conspired (when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and in his former post of Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) to both hide Patino-Arango's crimes and to help him escape prosecution. The lawsuit cites a 2001 letter from Ratzinger to all bishops, explaining that his office would handle "grave" crimes such as the sexual abuse of minors and that any tribunal proceedings related to abuse cases were subject to the highest order of church confidentiality, the "pontifical secret."

New Irish Campaign to Legalize Abortion

THE IRISH FAMILY PLANNING Association (IFPA) has launched an official challenge to the ban on abortion in Ireland. Currently, more than 6,200 Irish women travel to Britain each year to have an abortion and hundreds more go to the Netherlands, France and Spain.

The first action of the "Safe and Legal in Ireland" campaign is to support a group of three women who are challenging the Irish government's ban on abortion in the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Campaign spokeswoman Ivana Bacik, who is Reid Professor of Criminal Law at Trinity College, Dublin, said that the three women, who have all recently had an abortion in Britain, lodged a complaint with the ECHR stating that their rights had been violated. They claim that their rights to privacy in all family, home and personal interests, their right to protection from 'inhuman or degrading treatment,' the right to life of an individual and rights against discrimination have all be violated.
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Title Annotation:priest sex abusers
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2005
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