Monday, September 30, 2013

N.J. priest in sexting sting thought he was talking to 16-year-old boy

N.J. priest in sexting sting thought he was talking to 16-year-old boy, wanted to meet

Here's another news article about a bishop covering up for a pedophile priest.  The reason bishops cover up for pedophile priests is that they have cardinals as role models and these cardinals, like Joseph Ratzinger before he was Pope Benedict and Jorge Bergoglio before he was Pope Francis who also covered up for pedophile priests.  

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pope Francis (Jorge Mario Bergoglio) defended a pedophile priest just as Benedict (Joseph Ratzinger) did before him

Julio César Grassi is a priest convicted four years ago of molesting a 13-year-old boy in the late 1990s. He was sentenced to 15 years in jail. But until this week he was free. Why?  Because Pope Francis, the then cardinal Bergoglio headed up the Argentine bishops’ conference who secretly lobbied judges to allow Grassi to stay free while he appealed his conviction. Francis and his group said Grassi should go free and tried to discredit the victims.

Grassi founded Fundacion Felices los Niños (the Happy Children Foundation) in 1993, to rescue street children. The foundation cared for 6,300 children in 17 homes across Argentina from 1993 to 2002. Grassi did the opposite of caring for the children – he used the foundation to molest and rape them.

Grassi’s trial lasted for nine months, with testimony from 130 witnesses.  He was found guilty of two acts of aggravated sexual assault and corruption of minors in the case of “Gabriel.” He was acquitted of 15 other counts of abuse of two other boys.  Why was Grassi acquitted of so many counts of abuse? Right after he was found guilty in June 2009, Frances/Bergoglio approved the hiring of a leading criminal defense lawyer and legal scholar, Marcelo Sancinetti, and secretly authorized an extensive examination of Grassi’s prosecution.

Sancinetti’s report strongly stated Grassi’s innocence and denied that there was child sexual abuse. The report went to judges who had not yet given their decisions in the case.  It dismissed accusations against two of the victims and attacked the credibility of “Gabriel,” of whose abuse Grassi was convicted. The existence of this investigation and report commissioned by the bishops and Francis/Bergoglio was revealed in December 2011 by Juan Pablo Gallego, an attorney for the Committee for Oversight and Implementation of International Conventions for Children’s Rights, who had represented the victims at the trial. Gallego called the study a "scandalous instance of lobbying and exerting pressure on the Court" and accused the bishops of "further hindering a process that has outrageously granted the condemned priest a situation of almost unthinkable freedom."

Throughout the trial, Grassi said he was backed by many bishops, especially Francis/Bergoglio. Grassi said of Bergoglio that he “never let go of my hand [and] is always at my side.” Pope Francis has, for a long time, been a public supporter of the Happy Children Foundation, but he said little to defend Grassi publicly after his arrest. In a 2006 interview with Veintitres magazine, Bergoglio said that "justice will determine" Grassi's innocence, although "there is a media campaign against him, a condemnation in the media."  As usual, when the news is good, the Vatican praises the reporters. When they write something unfavorable they have a campaign against the pope

In 2010, the Criminal Appeals Court of Buenos Aires denied Grassi’s first appeal but again the local court ruled that he could remain free.  Although the prosecutor and victims’ attorneys tried to have Grassi detained, they were rejected twice in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, Grassi’s bishop Luis Eichhorn asked the court if Grassi could live a house with a swimming pool and large park, on the same block as the Happy Children headquarters, where Grassi had assaulted Gabriel. The Court granted Bishop Eichhorn's request.

Early in 2013, the Criminal Court ruled that Grassi had violated conditions of his freedom by mentioning one of his victims in a TV interview. Grassi’s lawyers again appealed and finally, (September 19, 2013), the Supreme Court of Buenos Aires rejected Grassi's appeal and ratified his 15-year sentence. On September 23, 2013, the Criminal Court ordered that Grassi immediately go to prison to begin serving his sentence. It had taken 11 years after his arrest and four years after his conviction for him to start serving his term but he is still a catholic priest. Francis hasn’t changed that.
According to who documents the crisis of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church with more than 100,000 pages of church records, legal documents, and media reports it is disturbing that Francis lobbied for Grassi so recently (in 2009 and 2010).
Like BishopAccountability who summarized the case we are also wondering why Francis has talked publically about financial corruption in the church and the “poor and needy” but says nothing about the cover-up of clergy sex offenders by bishops and the suffering of the abused children. Like all the popes before him for 2000 years, will he continue to ignore the global issue of sexual abuse of children perpetrated by his priests and nuns?





Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Pope Benedict XVI denies covering up priest abuse

The first time we hear from Joseph Ratzinger (alias retired pope benedict) he denies covering up priest abuse. There is overwhelming evidence from reputable sources that massive cover up is exactly what he did -- so his statement is worse than a lie.

To make himself sound even less believable, Ratzinger/Benedict also said that the abuse by clergy was not worse than in other organizations that have access to children (boy scouts, school coaches, etc).  Is he saying that because others molest and rape children that it is acceptable that priests and nuns do the same? By saying, “we’re not the only ones” he is admitting his guilt.

Jeff Anderson, a Minnesota attorney who defends victims told the Religion News Service he considered Benedict's responses "alarming and disturbing." The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) issued a statement saying: "The opposite of 'covering up' is 'uncovering' or 'disclosing,' We cannot name one predatory bishop, priest, nun, brother or seminarian who was publicly exposed because of Benedict."

Benedict also denied a claim that abuse is widespread in the catholic church.  Where is the proof that this is another lie?  Read the news articles, the legal testimonies, the horror stories by the victims (  Just a few examples:

Before Ratzinger was pope he was a cardinal and head of the vatican’s congregation for the doctrine of the faith whose supposed job was to “defend those points of Christian tradition which seem in danger because of new and unacceptable doctrines.”  He spent his long career ensuring that the rape and abuse of children by clergy was never reported to the authorities.  It was his job to discipline pedophile priests. His “punishments” included giving them jobs away from children (promotions in some cases) or moving them to another parish. Those that were promoted had more opportunity to continue their abuse and hide other priests doing the same atrocities.

Peter Hullerman in 1980, was a known pedophile priest accused of kidnapping and raping an 11-year-old boy. Ratzinger sent him for psychiatric therapy and back to work within a few days. Ratzinger then personally oversaw the transfer of Hullerman from one diocese to another in Germany where he was later convicted for molesting boys in another parish.

Ratzinger knew about the sexual abuse of 200 boys from 1950 to 1974 at st. john's School for the Deaf outside Milwaukee. He called off internal punishment of the accused priest, Lawrence Murphy. These crimes are described in a documentary film, "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God." Barbie Latza Nadeau of the Daily Beast reviewed the film (9/9/12) that “the Holy See doesn’t want you to see.”  She said:

“…it should be compulsory viewing for all Catholics, whether they blame or defend the church, for its clarity and insight into just who holds responsibility for decades of child abuse at the hands of clergy.” said Nadeau.  Of course the Vatican had no comment.

In Oakland, CA youth ministry priest Stephen Kiesle’s colleagues found him to be molesting children; they wanted him defrocked but the future pope benedict XVI would not act on the case  for six years, while Kiesle still worked with children. The vatican even confirmed that ratzinger's signature was on letters about the case.
The Seattle Times wrote (April 9, 2010) that the letter may be the strongest challenge yet to the vatican's insistence that benedict played no role in blocking the removal of pedophile priests during his years as head of the church's watchdog office. Do we know how many more children were molested during those six years?  In his letters, ratzinger asks for “very careful review and more time. Time to molest? Ratzinger said he was concerned about the "good of the universal church" and about the young age of Kiesle, that punishment would ruin his reputation. How young were the victims and did he care about their lives?

Finally, after leaving the priesthood, Kiesle was arrested and charged in 2002 with 13 counts of child molestation from the 1970s. All but two counts were thrown out after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a California law extending the statute of limitations. He pleaded no contest in 2004 to a felony for molesting a young girl in his home in 1995 and was sentenced to six years in state prison.

Was he ever sorry? More than a half-dozen victims reached a settlement in 2005 with the Oakland diocese saying Kiesle had molested them as children. "He admitted molesting many children and bragged that he was the Pied Piper and said he tried to molest every child that sat on his lap," said Lewis VanBlois, an attorney for six Kiesle victims who interviewed the former priest in prison. "When asked how many children he had molested over the years, he said 'tons.'”

There are many more instances of ratzinger/pope benedict refusing to take steps to protect children. According to Dave Altimari writing in The Hartford Courant (8/4/12), just days before joseph ratzinger was elected pope in 2005, the Norwich, CT diocese bishop requested that a priest, Thomas Shea, who sexually abused at least 15 girls in 11 different parishes be defrocked – Ratzinger did nothing about it. As a priest in good standing, Shea received a pension of about $15,000 a year and all of his health insurance costs, including his nursing home bills were paid for by the church.  Altimari included a quote: "No Catholic official on the planet has more power or knowledge about clergy sex crimes than Pope Benedict. Yet he still takes virtually no steps to help and sometimes, like this case, takes steps that hurt.''

You can decide whether Benedict/Ratzinger's words today reflect the documented history of what he previously said.



Sunday, September 22, 2013

Church abuses victims of childhood sexual abuse by blocking law to protect them

John Hrabe, an investigative reporter for Huffington Post, San Francisco is betting that Jerry Brown, governor of California will sign into law a bill (SB131) to give victims of childhood sexual abuse more time to file lawsuits against the organizations like the catholic church who allowed those crimes to take place. Whether Brown, a former Jesuit seminary student (who decided not to become a priest) signs the bill or not will not be known until October.
Lawmakers in government have been trying to block this effort to aid sexual abuse victims.  Why? The answer is money, says John Hrabe.  Organizations that protected and covered up for abusers of children don’t want to be held liable for what they did. According to Hrabe, catholic dioceses in California have already spent $1.2 billion in abuse settlements and would rather spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a lobbying campaign to block the bill to avoid more settlements. They hired five lobbying firms who distorted the facts and spread misinformation about SB 131.

William A. Donohue, a spokesperson for the church and president of the catholic league for religious and civil rights, said: "In California, in particular, there has been so much progress that priestly sexual abuse has long since ceased to exist."  John Hrabe, couldn’t believe what he was hearing.  He said, “Ceased to exist? Donohue doesn't understand that the threat of sexual abuse is ongoing. It never ceases to exist because there are always more predators. Victims will always face an uphill battle to be taken seriously. For that very reason, big institutions must remain ever vigilant and adopt procedures that encourage an ongoing discussion about sexual abuse.”
California Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, (R), the strongest opponent of the bill commented that it was supporting trial lawyers and just opening old wounds.  These words were strongly criticized by Joelle Casteix, a regional director for SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).  Casteix said that these words were a “slap in the face to the brave victims” and that “the only way old wounds are opened is when abuse is kept secret and wrongdoers are allowed to continue in abuse and cover-up.”

So again, we have the church pouring money into abusing the already abused and protecting themselves. Where does all this money come from?  Hopefully not from the donations of those parishioners who still believe it goes for helping the poor and abused.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

The pope and the Nazis –then and now

George Santayana, poet and philosopher once said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."  We won’t see the vatican writing press releases on their past friendship with Adolph Hitler or their present Nazi ties.  But if we don’t remember the past we will find ourselves in the same place, reliving the same horrors.

In 1933 the then pope, pius XI, decided that being a Nazi was better than being a communist because the church didn’t want to share its money and riches. The pope’s plan was to appease Hitler so that catholic clergy in Germany could keep their comfortable lifestyles. The pope’s ambassador in Berlin (Cesare Osenigo) said he was “jubilant” about Hitler's rise to power, hoping that Hitler’s new government would treat the German church as well as Mussolini treated the church in Italy.

Hitler knew that the pope and the church were greedy.  He said: “We should trap the priests by their notorious greed and self-indulgence…. They will swallow anything in order to keep their material advantages….”  (reference: The Catholic Church and Nazi Germany”, Guenter Lewy, 1964).

Because the church and Hitler were so cozy, everyone trusted Hitler and that allowed him to get more powerful.  He had enough time and fooled enough people so that crimes against humanity like the Holocaust could take place. This agreement between church and Nazi clearly showed the mindset of the church. The church sees itself as a “perfect society,” and responsible for protecting itself first – not its parishioners. As the head of the church, the pope is its chief protector – of the church, not of us.

The church and Nazi ties today

Yes, the church still has Nazi ties.  Nicole Winfield reported (09/16/11 Huffington Post) that Jewish groups are worried about the vatican’s relationship with a group of catholics, including a bishop, Richard Williamson, who denies that the Holocaust ever happened. This Swiss-based society of st. pius X  believes that Christ's death was the fault of all Jews and didn’t want to be under Vatican control. The previous pope benedict said that they could come back into the “fold” without having to give up their beliefs and lifted Williamson’s excommunication.

Does that mean the pope shared the same pro-Nazi beliefs?  This group is a danger because they have six seminaries, three universities and 70 primary and secondary schools around the globe. In addition to Williamson it has three other bishops, more than 550 priests and 200 priests in training. Are they training to incite another Holocaust?   The new pope doesn’t talk about these skeletons in the vatican closet.



Monday, September 9, 2013

Pope pressured to stop money laundering in the Vatican bank: Too little, too late

After many years of vatican bank money laundering, no financial transparency, disappearance of money, denials of blame, bank collapse, Mafia dealings and murder the new pope francis – under  a “recommendation” from the European anti-money laundering committee Moneyval  -- created a commission to look into the bank’s dealings.

Experts on money-laundering predicted that the Moneyval report would contain serious misgivings about whether the bank did anything to end “its reputation as a channel for Mafia profits of crime, arms deals and even the financing of terrorism.”  Moneyval said in a July 2012 report that the vatican still had a way to go.

For the past three years the previous pope tried to clean up bank dealings after evidence showed that the previous head of the bank, monsignor Angelo Caloia had expanded money laundering and was keeping secret accounts for favored politicians since the 1970s and 1980s.

Can the vatican really police itself? Look at their track record: 

1942: Vatican bank set up to finance works of charity worldwide. From the start activities of the bank were controversial and there were allegations of questionable movements of money and gold during and after the Second World War. 

1969: The vatican bank’s criminal business took off when lawyer, banker and Mafia don Michele “The Shark” Sindona was given the job of running it by his old friend pope Paul VI. Sindona used the bank to launder the Gambino Mafia family’s heroin profits. By the late 1970s Sindona and his bank were being investigated by Italian judges, prosecutors and politicians, several of whom were murdered. In 1986 Sindona, serving a 25-year sentence for murder, was poisoned in his cell by cyanide in his coffee.

 2010:  Italian investigators froze US$33 million in funds that the vatican bank put in an Italian bank because of suspicion of money laundering and less than legitimate vatican financial practices. The vatican bankers were “unable to respond” to a series of requests about questionable money transfers of $1.5 billion from the account in a short period of time. The money freeze was lifted in June 2011 but the investigation continued.  JP Morgan became nervous after Italian investigators found the account in a Milan bank and began to question vatican officials. Not getting good answers, it then closed the Milan account, saying anti-money laundering regulations did not permit its continued operation.

2012 (March 8, Philip Pullella, Reuters) reported that the U.S. State Department added the vatican to its list of money-laundering centers because of the large amount of international currency handled by a very secretive vatican.

Still At It

June 2013: The new pope has incentive to do something since there is a new money-laundering case: a Holy See monsignor Nunzio Scarano, withdrew more than a half-million euros in charitable donations (yes, yours!) from the bank and then used the money to pay off his personal mortgage. Also, Italian prosecutors are investigating two former vatican bank top executives on suspicion of repeatedly breaking Italian money laundering laws.

The vatican doesn’t want transparent financial records; they want to keep secret the bank’s 35,000 accounts, $7.5 billion in assets and the $55 million a year that the banking business produces for the church. These figures may just be the tip of the iceberg because no one really knows the total wealth of the church.

Does an organization like this care about the poor, abused and abandoned of the world? Do they use the contributions from millions of Catholics to help people – or to fatten their wallets? In the daily news the new pope has lots of distractions for the faithful while he slams the door on auditors who want to see what he is really doing with our money – just like he slams the door on survivors of nun and clergy abuse. The pope has time to meet with and tweet with everyone else except those who suffered the most.