Friday, August 17, 2018

Abuse in Ireland: Pressure mounts for pope to address scandal

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Francis is traveling to Ireland specifically for the World Meeting of Families, but the sex abuse crisis is dominating headlines before his Aug. 25-26 trip.
While coverage of clerical abuse in the United States, Chile and Australia continues, Irish news media have been filled with articles about how a top Vatican official allegedly tried to get Irish government officials to support deals that would protect church records of abuse allegations and limit the financial liability of the church.
Former Irish President Mary McAleese said Cardinal Angelo Sodano, then the Vatican secretary of state, approached her in November 2003 about an agreement or concordat to protect church records, and Dermot Ahern, Ireland's former foreign minister, said Cardinal Sodano asked him in November 2004 about the Irish government indemnifying the church against court-ordered compensation for victims. Many of the institutions where the abuse took place were supported by the state or subject to state inspection.
Cardinal Sodano, the now 90-year-old dean of the College of Cardinals, has not responded to the claims, nor has the Vatican press office.
Writing Aug. 7 in the Irish Times, Marie Collins, who had been one of the abuse survivors Pope Francis named to the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, said that in Dublin the pope "should admit the responsibility the Vatican and church leadership hold for past events in Ireland and set out how he is going to deal with the abuses happening today in other parts of the Catholic world."
"He needs to do more than make promises," Collins wrote. "He must commit to action."
U.S. Dominican Father Thomas Doyle, who has spent decades working with survivors of clerical sexual abuse, told the Irish radio RTE Aug. 13 he hoped Pope Francis would have the courage to admit publicly that the Vatican itself was involved in covering up abuse crimes.
"I believe that kind of a statement coming from him is absolutely necessary because the day is long gone when people will tolerate them saying, 'Well, we're sorry for the pain you suffered, for the mistakes that were made.' No," he said, "it wasn't mistakes. It was an intentional program, an intentional, systemic program" to protect the church above all else.
Officials chose to "sacrifice the thousands of victims for the image and the welfare and the power of the institution," Father Doyle said. "The apology has to come from the top."
A meeting with Irish survivors of abuse is not on the pope's official schedule, but in the past, such meetings were announced only after they had taken place.
Irish newspapers reported Aug. 1 that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin said he was certain Pope Francis would speak of the abuse scandal, but he was not sure that the pope would have time to meet with survivors given that he would be in Ireland only 36 hours.
Collins told RTE the next day Vatican officials "are delusional" if they believe not meeting survivors would keep the topic of abuse out of the news while the pope is in Dublin. "Ignoring an issue is not going to make it go away."
What the pope "needs to do, particularly now as the flood gates are opening around the world," she said, is to state clearly "what he is going to do about this crisis in the church. At the moment it is not being addressed."
A session on "safeguarding children and vulnerable adults" is scheduled for the World Meeting of Families' pastoral congress Aug. 24, the day before the pope arrives. Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston, president of the pontifical commission, was scheduled to moderate the panel, which includes a presentation by Collins, but the cardinal has said he will remain in Boston as the archdiocesan seminary deals with allegations of inappropriate behavior.
The magnitude of abuse inflicted by Catholic priests, religious brothers and women religious in Ireland is staggering.
Beginning in the mid-1990s, the church in Ireland was rocked by a series of very public revelations about sexual abuse and, particularly, about how the abuse and allegations of it were mishandled by senior church leaders. The abuse included thousands of cases of sexual and physical abuse in Catholic residential schools and care facilities, including the so-called Magdalene laundries where young women were sent for having children out of wedlock or being suspected of sexual promiscuity.
A series of judicial reports detailed a pattern of cover-up and a tendency to put the avoidance of scandal and the reputation of the church ahead of the needs of those who were abused. Four Irish bishops resigned after being criticized for their handling of abuse allegations.
One of the judicial reports, released in 2009, focused on the Archdiocese of Dublin in the years 1975-2004. An independent Commission of Investigation, headed by Judge Yvonne Murphy, looked at the handling of some 325 abuse claims in the archdiocese over that 30-year period.
The report concluded that during those years, rather than being concerned about the victims, Catholic leaders were more interested in "the maintenance of secrecy, the avoidance of scandal, the protection of the reputation of the church and the preservation of its assets."
In 2010, then-Pope Benedict XVI wrote a letter to the people of Ireland and addressed survivors directly: "You have suffered grievously, and I am truly sorry. I know that nothing can undo the wrong you have endured. Your trust has been betrayed and your dignity has been violated. Many of you found that, when you were courageous enough to speak of what happened to you, no one would listen."
Pope Benedict also ordered an apostolic visitation of Ireland's four archdioceses, its seminaries and its religious orders and put U.S. Archbishop Charles J. Brown, a longtime official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in charge of the nunciature in Ireland. The move came after the previous nuncio, Archbishop Giuseppe Leanza, was recalled in 2011 after an independent judicial report accused the Holy See of being "entirely unhelpful" to Irish bishops trying to deal with abuse.
In July 2014, Pope Francis held his first meeting as pope with survivors, including two from Ireland. They were accompanied by Collins, who was then serving on the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors. Collins resigned from the commission in March 2017, saying some Vatican offices were blocking the implementation of recommendations made by the commission.
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Take On the Catholic Church for Covering Up Child Sex Abuse

We Can Take On the Catholic Church for Covering Up Child Sex Abuse. Here’s How

The Pennsylvania grand jury report on clergy sex abuse in six dioceses is a call to action, in part because so few indictments flowed from its documentation of over 1,000 victims and 300 perpetrator priests. It details enormous injustice and institutional malfeasance, but we are left with only two indictments of perpetrators.
The institution and the bishops once again have been permitted to skate free, as though this is not a criminal enterprise in the most classic sense. It’s time to bring the Catholic Church to account for what it’s done.

Charge the church as a corrupt organization

It is natural to ask why the U.S. Roman Catholic Church has not been sued under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, for its systemic cover up of child sex abuse on such a large scale. The answer is that, as currently written, the law does not apply to this situation, because the “predicate act” needed to bring a federal RICO claim cannot be a personal injury like sex abuse.
Lawmakers should amend RICO to include child sex abuse as a predicate offense. That will open the door to curbing the organized sex abuse that is happening across America, not just in the Catholic Church. Such a change could still be challenging due to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, which gives religious entities—and no other organizations—cover for illegal behavior. RFRA grants religious organizations the right to argue that a federal law burdens their religious freedom unless the federal government can prove the law exists for a compelling interest and applies to the organization in the least restrictive means possible. The bishops likely would argue that every aspect of RICO would have to be applied to it in the “least restrictive means” possible, from discovery to testimony to penalties.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Pennsylvania priests 'abused thousands of children'

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court has released a grand jury report detailing sex abuse in the Catholic Church, naming over 300 accused clergymen.
The landmark grand jury investigation found more than 1,000 children had been abused by members of six dioceses in the state for the last 70 years.
Officials say the probe found systematic cover-ups by the church.
The report is the latest inquiry into allegations of sex abuse by Catholic clergy worldwide.
After an 18-month investigation, "over one thousand child victims were identifiable, from the church's own records," the grand jury states in the report released on Tuesday.
"We believe that the real number - of children whose records were lost or who were afraid ever to come forward - is in the thousands."

See also:

Pennsylvania clergy abuse report: Key findings from each diocese

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Global Heat Wave

The global heat wave as seen by satellites, airplanes, and weather stations

By Daniel Wolfe & Amanda ShendrukAugust 8, 2018

It’s not you; it’s hot in here. The Earth is experiencing some of the warmest days on record; 2018 is expected to see the fourth hottest summer ever observed.
Beginning in June, simultaneous heat waves were recorded in Japan, GreeceUnited States, Ireland, Canada and Sweden. Many nations were hit with particularly sweltering days in July, resulting in temperatures that stand out statistically. Japan, Finland, Canada and Sweden saw more daily heat records broken last month than during any other July in the last decade.

Global Heat Wave Toasts Wheat and Prices Soar

Global wheat prices have soared to multiyear highs as a heat wave sweeping across Europe and Asia slashes forecasts for this year’s harvest.
The price rise could potentially provide some relief to North American farmers, who have largely avoided such scorching weather, just as Chinese tariffs sap demand for other crops like soybeans.
Chicago wheat futures hit three-year highs Thursday, while a key European benchmark topped a four-year high. The price of Paris-traded milling wheat has leapt 33% so far this year. That is already translating into more expensive animal feed in some regions and could eventually mean more expensive bread.
Hot temperatures and drought typically stunt the growth of cereals and reduce their quality. With this in mind, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast that global wheat stockpiles will fall for the first time since 2013.

Historic heat wave scorches Europe

By JEFF NEUMANN | | The Denver Post

Europe is hoping blistering heat will lose its grip next week on the continent after Portugal recorded highs at around 117 degrees Fahrenheit Saturday. The hottest temperature ever recorded in continental Europe was more than 118 degrees in Athens, Greece in 1979.

Monday, August 6, 2018

98 confirmed dead in magnitude-7.0 earthquake

98 confirmed dead, hundreds injured after powerful earthquake hits popular Indonesian tourist island

A magnitude-7.0 earthquake has hit the Indonesian resort island of Lombok, killing 98 people.

The earthquake struck at 6:46 p.m. local time on Sunday and damaged buildings 150 kilometers (93 miles) away in Denpasar, Bali.

A spokesman for Indonesia's National Disaster Mitigation Agency told reporters on Monday afternoon that the death toll had risen to 98 people, and more than 230 others were severely injured.

Officials warned that this figure could continue to rise as search and rescue teams continue to sweep the area.

The identities of all the victims are not clear yet. The Guardian reported earlier on Monday that all those confirmed dead in the earthquake were Indonesian.

Among the buildings that were damaged is a mosque in Lading-Lading village , where multiple worshippers were trapped inside.

Friday, August 3, 2018

A Week of Earthquakes, Eclipses, and Other Divine Signs

A Week of Earthquakes, Eclipses, and Other Divine Signs

Here stand I and the children Hashem has given me as signs and portents in Yisrael from the LORD of Hosts, who dwells on Mount Tzion. Isaiah 8:18 (The Israel Bible™)
Several rabbis are pointing to last week’s rare lunar eclipse and continued earthquakes as a divine pre-Messianic wake-up call. In fact, it isn’t only the rabbis. Even Arab sources are labeling the recent earthquakes as part of the end-of-days conflict centered around Jerusalem.
On Friday, Israel witnessed two natural phenomena: a 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck the northern Kinneret area at noon and as the sun set, a total lunar eclipse hung overhead, turning the moon deep crimson. The eclipse was remarkably rare: the longest lunar eclipse seen over the skies of Israel in more than a century.
The earthquake was remarkable, but not for its rarity. It was the second of the week and the most recent in a series that has shaken northern Israel in the past several weeks. On a practical level, this is alarming since Israel is situated along the Syrian-African rift, a tear in the earth’s crust running the length of the border separating Israel from Jordan, extending from northern Syria to Mozambique.The last major earthquake in Israel struck in 1927, a 6.2-magnitude tremor that killed 500 people and injured another 700Experts have warned a large earthquake could strike Israel in the near future, and the government has begun funding projects for public buildings to be bolstered against tremors.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Mars' South Pole May Hide a Large Underground Lake

Mars' South Pole May Hide a Large Underground Lake

"It's always exciting when you talk about liquid water on present-day Mars," Ashwin Vasavada, project scientist at NASA for the Curiosity mission, told However, he declined to say how confident he is in the study's claims, because he isn't an expert in the kind of radar imagery the team used. "It's exciting because of any implications it might have for the habitability of Mars." [Geometry Helps Solve the Mystery of Mars' Water]
And it's too early to say what precisely those implications may be. Scientists still need to confirm the discovery itself and understand precisely what characteristics that water may have, which will require missions that have yet to be designed, much less launched.
Water below the ice?
The new research builds on more than three decades of theorizing by scientists about the chances that water lurks below Mars' polar caps, just as it does here on Earth.
That idea was first proposed by Steve Clifford, now a planetary scientist specializing in water on Mars at the Planetary Science Institute based in Arizona, who was not involved in the new research. He was inspired by scientists' studies of lakes below the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets here on Earth, he told Those lakes are created when heat from within the planet melts the glaciers in patches. He thought a similar scenario could be happening below the ice caps on Mars — we just didn't have any way to see below the ice.
The new research attempted to do just that using radar data gathered by an instrument called MARSIS, which uses pulses of radar to study the planet's ionosphere and interior structure. It has been orbiting the planet aboard Mars Express, a European spacecraft, since 2003.

The Night of the Red Moon and the Red Planet

Live on the wrong continent, or simply have cloudy skies? Gianluca Masi and the Virtual Telescope Project 2.0 have you covered, with a live webcast of the eclipse from the heart of Rome, Italy on July 27th starting at 18:30 UT.
Be sure to catch Friday’s total lunar eclipse, either in person or online… we won’t have another one until January 21st, 2019.

Signs in the Heavens - Blood Moon July 2018

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

End Times Alert: Blood Moon 2018

Longest Blood Moon of Century Occurs July 27

Blood Moon 2018: Longest Total Lunar Eclipse of Century Occurs July 27

The longest total lunar eclipse of the 21st century takes place this Friday, July 27.
The total phase of the "blood moon" eclipse of July 27 will last 1 hour and 43 minutes, during which Earth's natural satellite will turn a spectacular red or ruddy-brown color. From start to finish, the entire celestial event will last nearly 4 hours.

The eclipse won't be visible to viewers in North America, except via webcasts. But observers in much of Africa, the Middle East, southern Asia and the Indian Ocean region will get an eyeful, given cooperative weather, according to lunar scientist Noah Petro, of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. [In Photos: The Rare Super Blue Blood Moon Eclipse of 2018]

Saturday, June 30, 2018

'Building blocks' for life found on Saturn's moon

Scientists have found the 'building blocks' for life on Saturn's moon Enceladus

Scientists have found the "building blocks" for life on Saturn's moon Enceladus, where they have discovered complex organic molecules.

The study on the matter, published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Nature, is based off data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft —before Cassini plunged into Saturn's atmosphere and ended its mission on Sept. 15, 2017.

“It is the first ever detection of complex organics coming from an extraterrestrial water-world,” said Frank Postberg, the lead author of the study, in a statement on the European Space Agency's website.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

World Council of Churches: Taking the Pulse of Popes and Protestants

Care for creation and universal primacy on the agenda for the 70th annivesary of WCC...

Pope's World Council of Churches visit takes on significance in divisive era

Pope Francis' upcoming visit to Geneva to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the World Council of Churches, a fellowship of 348 Christian denominations, is taking on special significance because of the increasingly divisive nature of global politics, say several former ecumenical dialogue participants.

..."When the Bishop of Rome gathers with leaders of other Christian communions, he and they are making a statement about the unity to which God calls us, not only as members of the Christian family but as members of the human family," said Massa.

...The commission said that there had been "significant ecumenical discussion" about a "universal ministry of primacy" 
...Delaney said the dialogue between the Catholic Church and the World Council is of unique value among the many such ecumenical dialogues.
"It's the only way we can keep in touch with developments in the Protestant churches and how they help or hinder Christian unity," she said. "So, it's very important."

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Erdogan fears world war between the cross and the crescent

Erdogan “They say they’re going to kick our religious men out of Austria. Do you think we will not react if you do such a thing? “That means we’re going to have to do something.”

Erdogan denounces Austria's decision to close mosques

Comments came the day after the Austrian government announced it could expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday strongly criticised Austria’s move to close mosques and expel Turkish-funded imams, criticising the decision as anti-Islamic and promising a response.

“These measures taken by the Austrian prime minister are, I fear, leading the world towards a war between the cross and the crescent,” Mr Erdogan said in a speech in Istanbul.

His comments came the day after the Austrian government announced it could expel up to 60 Turkish-funded imams and their families, and would shut down seven mosques as part of a clampdown on “political Islam”.

The announcement triggered fury in Ankara.

Interior minister Herbert Kickl of the far-right Freedom Party, the junior partner in Austria’s coalition government, said the move concerned imams with alleged links to the Turkish-Islamic Cultural Associations organisation, a branch of Turkey’s religious affairs agency Diyanet.

Mr Kickl said his government suspects them of contravening a ban on foreign funding of religious office holders.

A Turkish presidential spokesman had on Friday described the Austrian move as “a reflection of the anti-Islam, racist and discriminatory populist wave in this country”.

However, other European far-right leaders welcomed the announcement.

Even Austria’s opposition parties were broadly supportive of Friday’s announcement, with the centre-left Social Democrats calling it “the first sensible thing this government has done”.

But the Green Party pointed out it could serve as a propaganda victory for the Turkish government.

Mr Erdogan, speaking on Saturday, said: “They say they’re going to kick our religious men out of Austria. Do you think we will not react if you do such a thing?

“That means we’re going to have to do something.”

About 360,000 people of Turkish origin live in Austria, including 117,000 Turkish nationals.

Relations between Ankara and Vienna have been strained since a failed coup in 2016 against Mr Erdogan that was followed by a wave of arrests.

His speech comes in the run-up to presidential and legislative elections on June 24 in which Mr Erdogan faces stiff opposition.

The Austrian government has banned Turkish officials from holding meetings in the country before the polls.


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Ireland overturns abortion ban

Irish abortion referendum: Ireland overturns abortion ban

  • 26 May 2018
The Republic of Ireland has voted overwhelmingly to overturn the abortion ban by 66.4% to 33.6%.
A referendum held on Friday resulted in a landslide win for the repeal side.

Currently, abortion is only allowed when a woman's life is at risk, but not in cases of rape, incest or fatal foetal abnormality.

The Eighth Amendment, which grants an equal right to life to the mother and unborn, will be replaced.

The declaration was made at Dublin Castle at 18:13 local time.

My refuge in the day of disaster.


Jeremiah Prays for Deliverance

14 Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;
    save me, and I shall be saved,
    for you are my praise.
15 Behold, they say to me,
    “Where is the word of the Lord?
    Let it come!”
16 I have not run away from being your shepherd,
    nor have I desired the day of sickness.
You know what came out of my lips;
    it was before your face.
17 Be not a terror to me;
    you are my refuge in the day of disaster.
18 Let those be put to shame who persecute me,
    but let me not be put to shame;
let them be dismayed,
    but let me not be dismayed;
bring upon them the day of disaster;
    destroy them with double destruction!

The Orwellian Jailing of Tommy Robinson

Tommy Robinson, Gang Rapes and Britian's Miscarriage of Justice

Parliamentary Questions on the Arrest of Tommy Robinson
Translations of this item:

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Mass Shootings Caused by Drugs!

Pharmaceutical Murder – Mass Shootings Caused by Drugs!

Published on May 21, 2018
What is it we never see in the press about the tragic mass shootings that are happening now on a routine basis? What pharmaceutical drugs these shooters are on, their health history and who the doctors are who are responsible for the physical and mental health of of these mass murders, that’s what!

Twenty-seven drug regulatory agency warnings cite psychiatric drug side effects of mania, psychosis, violence and homicidal ideation; 1,531 cases of psychiatric drug induced homicide/homicidal ideation have been reported to the US FDA; 65 high profile cases of mass shootings/murder have been committed by individuals under the influence of these drugs, yet there has never been a federal investigation into the link between seemingly senseless acts of violence and the use of mind-altering psychotropic drugs.

Yet yesterday in the Associated Press and several Washington newspapers we read a hysterical wave of protest after the National Rifle Association’s incoming president linked school shootings and other violence to using medications such as Ritalin:

George DuPaul, a psychologist at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania said, "There’s really no evidence whatsoever that links treatment for ADHD with Ritalin and drugs like that with violence, let alone gun violence." If anything, DuPaul said, children tend to be less aggressive. Right here in this statement we see how mass killings have become sanctioned by the press and mainstream institutions.


Pope Francis tells gay man: 'God made you like this'

Pope Francis tells gay man: 'God made you like this and loves you like this'

Remarks during conversation with sex abuse victim are pontiff’s clearest acceptance of homosexuality to date.

A victim of clerical sex abuse has said Pope Francis told him God made him gay and his sexuality “does not matter”.

Juan Carlos Cruz spoke privately with the pontiff last week about the abuse he suffered at the hands of a prominent Chilean priest.

After his sexuality came up in conversation, Francis reportedly told him: “Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter.
God made you like that and loves you like this and I don’t care. The Pope loves you like this. You have to be happy with who you are.”

‘Who am I to judge gay people?’ Pope Francis marks shift in Catholic

Monday, May 21, 2018

Pope Francis says he will retire

Catholic Online 

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)
5/15/2018 (6 days ago)
Catholic Online (

Pope Francis hints at likely retirement.
Pope Francis spoke about when it will be time for him to retire during his homily on Tuesday. The statement may be the most direct announcement yet that he will someday retire. Pope Francis has previously hinted at his retirement.

LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - Pope Francis made a surprising statement during a homily on St. Paul on Tuesday. The Pope mentioned that St. Paul had to decide when to leave his flock of Christians to the care of others. Pope Francis then talked about the right time to "take leave" of his flock, alluding to his possible retirement.