A Flag for Sunrise – Robert Stones.

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I am reading a very good book. I thought I would share this part from the book. A Flag for Sunrise – Robert Stones.

”We’re at a very primitive stage of mankind,” Nolan declared, “that’s what people don’t understand. Just pick up the Times on any given day and you’ve got a catalogue of ape behavior. Strip away the slogans and excuses and verbiage, the so-called ideology, and you’re reading about what one pack of chimpanzees did to another.”

Top British Cardinal Resigns, a Day After Charges of ‘Inappropriate Acts’

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The New York Times

 

February 25, 2013

Top British Cardinal Resigns, a Day After Charges of ‘Inappropriate Acts’

By  and 

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VATICAN CITY — Britain’s most senior Roman Catholic cleric announced his resignation on Monday, a day after being accused of “inappropriate acts” with priests, saying he would not attend the conclave to elect a new pope.

The cleric, Cardinal Keith O’Brien, said that he had submitted his resignation months ago, and that the Vatican said Pope Benedict XVI had accepted it on Feb. 18. However, the timing of the announcement — a day after news reports of alleged abuse appeared in Britain — suggested that the Vatican had encouraged the cardinal to stay away from the conclave.

“Everybody’s been struck by how quickly Rome responded,” said Austen Ivereigh, director of the British church advocacy group Catholic Voices. “Clearly Rome saw that there was sufficient substance to the allegations. They would not have told him to stand down unless they thought there was something worth investigating.”

The move leaves Britain without a voting cardinal in the conclave and is bound to raise questions about other cardinals. It comes amid a campaign by some critics to urge Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles not to attend the conclave because of his role in reshuffling priests accused of abuse.

It also comes just days after the Vatican Secretariat of State issued a harsh statement against recent news media reports, including ones alleging a gay sex scandal inside the Vatican. It said that cardinals should not be affected by external pressures when they vote for the next pope. About 115 cardinals are expected to be at the gathering. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, the former archbishop of Westminster, will attend the meetings in Rome before the conclave, according to Mr. Ivereigh, the cardinal’s former spokesman, but he is past the voting age cutoff of 80 years.

Vatican watchers said that Cardinal O’Brien’s decision not to attend the conclave was rare.

“It’s quite unprecedented,” said Sandro Magister, a Vatican expert with the Italian weekly magazine L’Espresso. “He made it clear that his resignation came under the pressure of the accusations. His certainly isn’t a frequent case and hasn’t happened in conclaves in recent memory.”

On Monday, Benedict changed the laws governing the conclave to allow cardinals to move up the start date before the traditional waiting period of 15 to 20 days after the papacy is vacant. He met with three cardinals who had conducted a secret investigation into a scandal over leaked documents and ruled that the contents of their report would be known only to his successor, not to the cardinals entering the conclave.

Cardinal O’Brien’s announcement came a day after The Observer reported that four men had made complaints to the pope’s diplomatic representative in Britain, Antonio Mennini, the week before Pope Benedict XVI announced on Feb. 11 that he would be stepping down as of Thursday.

The Observer said that the accusations, which dated back to the 1980s, had been forwarded to the Vatican.

Last week, Cardinal O’Brien drew different headlines, telling the BBC that the next pope should consider abandoning the church’s insistence on priestly celibacy, and suggesting that it might be time for the papal conclave to choose a pontiff from Africa or Asia, where church membership has been growing even as it has fallen across Europe and North America.

On Monday, the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, played down the connection between the news reports and Cardinal O’Brien’s resignation, which the pope accepted after the cardinal reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.

A statement issued by the media office of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland said that Cardinal O’Brien had informed the pope some time ago of his intention to resign as archbishop of St. Andrews and Edinburgh as his 75th birthday approached on March 17, but that no date had been set.

The cardinal said in the statement, “The Holy Father has now decided that my resignation will take effect today, 25 February 2013.”

“Looking back over my years of ministry: For any good I have been able to do, I thank God,” he said. “For any failures, I apologize to all whom I have offended.”

“I also ask God’s blessing on my brother cardinals who will soon gather in Rome,” the statement said, adding: “I will not join them for this conclave in person. I do not wish media attention in Rome to be focused on me — but rather on Pope Benedict XVI and on his successor.”

Cardinal O’Brien, whose office had initially said he would fly to Rome before the conclave, has been the head of the Catholic Church in Scotland since 1985 and was named a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 2003. He was among the cardinals who attended the conclave that chose Benedict as John Paul’s successor in 2005.

The main role of cardinals is to elect a new pope, and they remain eligible to vote under any circumstances, even if they have been excommunicated, Bishop Juan Ignacio Arrieta, the secretary for the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, said last week.

Ambrogio Piazzoni, a papal historian, told reporters last week that he could think of no examples of cardinals who had refrained from voting for anything other than health reasons, or from the pressures of different governments in past years.

Terence McKiernan, the president of BishopAccountability.org, a nonprofit Web site based in Massachusetts that seeks to collate documentation about the sexual abuse crisis, said the move set a new precedent.

“Many cardinals scheduled to join the conclave have been involved as bishops in handling cases of clergy sexual abuse, and some of them have done such a bad job that they, too, should recuse themselves from the conclave,” he said in an e-mailed statement, naming Cardinal Mahony and the leaders of the church in two scandal-scarred countries, Cardinal Sean Brady of Ireland and Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium. “If they are involved in the deliberations and the votes, they will taint the outcome, damaging the legitimacy of whoever is ultimately chosen.”

The resignation was met with mixed responses in Scotland, ranging from satisfaction among gay and lesbian groups to dismay among others who saw Cardinal O’Brien as a strong voice for Scotland and its 750,000 Catholics, as well as an influential advocate for the poor and aid to the developing world. He has been a frequent visitor to Catholic missions in Africa.

Among some, there was upset that the cardinal had been brought down by accusers who have so far not identified themselves publicly, and whose allegations have yet to be tested by any ecclesiastical tribunal, or by a Scottish court. There was strong endorsement for the pope’s decision to accelerate the cardinal’s resignation and a hope that the episode would lead to a determination under a new pope to deal decisively with the legacy of sexual abuse among priests.

The differing views were reflected in e-mails that flooded into the BBC.

“I have little pity for a man who said some truly nasty things about the gay community,” wrote James Swinburne, in the English city of Manchester. “Religious belief or not, these views have no place in the U.K. in 2013. His comments will have hurt and offended many people, and potentially perpetuated prejudice that exists within our society.”

Other e-mails were more forgiving. “Having a system which places men with a priestly vocation in a place where they deny their sexuality, whether it be heterosexual or homosexual, is bound to create situations,” wrote Jeremy Ross, from the town of Ashtead, near London. “This rule needs to be challenged by a new pope alongside the fact that the priesthood is forbidden to women.”

Born in Northern Ireland, the cardinal was raised in Scotland after his father was posted to a Royal British Navy base outside Glasgow in the 1940s. After graduating with a chemistry degree, he became a priest at the age of 27. He then spent five years as a math and science teacher before being appointed, in his 40s, to senior positions at two of the church’s principal Scottish seminaries, before moving to Edinburgh as archbishop.

Among Cardinal O’Brien’s defenders was Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, whose push for Scotland’s independence from Britain has won qualified support from the cardinal. Mr. Salmond, with other leading Scottish politicians, stressed that people should not rush to judgment about the cardinal before the church has completed its inquiry into the complaints. “None of us know the outcome of the investigation,” he said, adding, “but I have found him to be a good man for his church and his country.”

“It would be a great pity if a whole lifetime of work was lost” amid the furor over the allegations, he said.

Rachel Donadio reported from Vatican City, and John F. Burns from London. Alan Cowell contributed reporting from London, and Laurie Goodstein from New York.

 

 

Italian Media Tell Story of “Underground Gay Network” at the Vatican

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By Josh Voorhees
Posted Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, at 6:46 PM
Slate.com
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Italian media are reporting that Pope Benedict XVI decided to retire the same day he was given the secret dossier Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Pope Benedict XVI is less than one week away from beginning his retirement at the Castel Gandolfo, but his final days as head of the Catholic church don’t look like they’re going to be quiet ones. Unsourced reports coming out of Italy suggest that the pope decided to call it quits not because of his old age but instead to avoid the fallout that could come from a secret 300-page dossier compiled by three cardinals he tapped to look into last year’s leak of confidential papers stolen from his desk.

Those papers, widely known as the “VatiLeaks,” raised questions of financial impropriety and corruption at the Vatican. The investigation that followed, however, may prove even more uncomfortable for church officials.

The secret dossier allegedly details a wide range of infighting among various factions in the Vatican’s governing body, known as the Curia. But the headline-ready takeaway from today’s report from La Repubblicaconcerns the existence of one faction in particular, a network of gay church officials. Just in case that weren’t enough to pique international interest, the Italian newspaper also reports that some of said officials had been blackmailed by outsiders. According to the report, the pope got his first look at the dossier—”two folders hard-bound in red” with the header “pontifical secret”—on Dec. 17, and decided that same day to retire.

Now’s a good time to take a step back and offer a few disclaimers. For starters, the Vatican has repeatedly dismissed the reports as baseless. The story from La Repubblica that is driving the allegations is unsourced, so it’s difficult to tell how much stock to put into the whole thing. (There’s also the fact that, it being an Italian-language paper, there’s always a chance of some of the details getting lost in translation.) Still, it appears as though at least one other Italian newspaper, the weekly Panorama, has a similar report—although its unnamed sources could very well be the same as La Repubblica’s. A third Italian paper, Corriere della Sera, alluded to the existence of the secret dossier soon after Benedict announced his resignation earlier this month, describing its contents as “disturbing” but providing few details.

La Repubblica, which has the largest circulation among Italy’s general-interest dailies, promised that today’s report would be the first of a series on the topic, so it would appear as though we may have more information soon. Here’s the Sydney Morning Herald with a translation of a few relevant details from today’s report*:

The cardinals were said to have uncovered an underground gay network, whose members organise sexual meetings in several venues in Rome and Vatican City, leaving them prone to blackmail. The secret report also delves into suspect dealings at the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), the Vatican’s bank, where a new chairman was appointed last week after a nine-month vacancy, La Repubblica said, without going into details.

The newspaper said Benedict would personally hand the confidential files to his successor, with the hope he will be “strong, young and holy” enough to take the necessary action.

And here’s the Guardian with a quick refresher on some of the Vatican’s recent history when it comes to homosexuality:

In 2007 a senior official was suspended from the congregation, or department, for the priesthood, after he was filmed in a “sting” organised by an Italian television programme while apparently making sexual overtures to a younger man. In 2010 a chorister was dismissed for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for a papal gentleman-in-waiting. A few months later a weekly news magazine used hidden cameras to record priests visiting gay clubs and bars and having sex.

The Vatican does not condemn homosexuals. But it teaches that gay sex is “intrinsically disordered”. Pope Benedict has barred sexually active gay men from studying for the priesthood.

Given the unsourced nature of the Italian reports, many U.S. outlets have been understandably cautious in reporting the story. But speculation on this side of the Atlantic began to heat up somewhat after the Vatican announced today that the pope had decided to transfer a top Vatican official to Colombia. That development gave outlets the opportunity to marry the announcement with the more sensational allegations. Here, for instance, is the lede from CBS News this afternoon:

The pope has transferred a top official from the Vatican’s secretariat of state to Colombia amid swirling media speculation about the contents of a confidential report into the Vatican’s leaks scandal.

Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, insisted Friday that the transfer of Monsignor Ettore Balestrero had been months in the works and had nothing to do with the leaks investigation or what the Vatican considers baseless reporting.

Still, even in that report, the network waited until the seventh paragraph to mention the allegations of “a homosexual lobby among church officials within the Curia.” Meanwhile, most U.S. outlets have been more interested in the story of the pope quitting Twitter.

Would an innocent man with nothing to fear have to hide for the rest of his life? The Pope will not dare to leave the Vatican. He should be charged with human rights violations of the worst kind for accommodating child rapists and protecting child rapists. The true face of Evil!!!

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Pope Immunity: Vatican Will Protect Benedict From Sexual Abuse Prosecution

 

(Reuters) – Pope Benedict’s decision to live in the Vatican after he resigns will provide him with security and privacy. It will also offer legal protection from any attempt to prosecute him in connection with sexual abuse cases around the world, Church sources and legal experts say.

“His continued presence in the Vatican is necessary, otherwise he might be defenseless. He wouldn’t have his immunity, his prerogatives, his security, if he is anywhere else,” said one Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“It is absolutely necessary” that he stays in the Vatican, said the source, adding that Benedict should have a “dignified existence” in his remaining years.

Vatican sources said officials had three main considerations in deciding that Benedict should live in a convent in the Vatican after he resigns on February 28.

Vatican police, who already know the pope and his habits, will be able to guarantee his privacy and security and not have to entrust it to a foreign police force, which would be necessary if he moved to another country.

“I see a big problem if he would go anywhere else. I’m thinking in terms of his personal security, his safety. We don’t have a secret service that can devote huge resources (like they do) to ex-presidents,” the official said.

Another consideration was that if the pope did move permanently to another country, living in seclusion in a monastery in his native Germany, for example, the location might become a place of pilgrimage.

POTENTIAL EXPOSURE

This could be complicated for the Church, particularly in the unlikely event that the next pope makes decisions that may displease conservatives, who could then go to Benedict’s place of residence to pay tribute to him.

“That would be very problematic,” another Vatican official said.

The final key consideration is the pope’s potential exposure to legal claims over the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandals.

In 2010, for example, Benedict was named as a defendant in a law suit alleging that he failed to take action as a cardinal in 1995 when he was allegedly told about a priest who had abused boys at a U.S. school for the deaf decades earlier. The lawyers withdrew the case last year and the Vatican said it was a major victory that proved the pope could not be held liable for the actions of abusive priests.

Benedict is currently not named specifically in any other case. The Vatican does not expect any more but is not ruling out the possibility.

“(If he lived anywhere else) then we might have those crazies who are filing lawsuits, or some magistrate might arrest him like other (former) heads of state have been for alleged acts while he was head of state,” one source said.

Another official said: “While this was not the main consideration, it certainly is a corollary, a natural result.”

After he resigns, Benedict will no longer be the sovereign monarch of the State of Vatican City, which is surrounded by Rome, but will retain Vatican citizenship and residency.

LATERAN PACTS

That would continue to provide him immunity under the provisions of the Lateran Pacts while he is in the Vatican and even if he makes jaunts into Italy as a Vatican citizen.

The 1929 Lateran Pacts between Italy and the Holy See, which established Vatican City as a sovereign state, said Vatican City would be “invariably and in every event considered as neutral and inviolable territory”.

There have been repeated calls for Benedict’s arrest over sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

When Benedict went to Britain in 2010, British author and atheist campaigner Richard Dawkins asked authorities to arrest the pope to face questions over the Church’s child abuse scandal.

Dawkins and the late British-American journalist Christopher Hitchens commissioned lawyers to explore ways of taking legal action against the pope. Their efforts came to nothing because the pope was a head of state and so enjoyed diplomatic immunity.

In 2011, victims of sexual abuse by the clergy asked the International Criminal Court to investigate the pope and three Vatican officials over sexual abuse.

The New York-based rights group Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and another group, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), filed a complaint with the ICC alleging that Vatican officials committed crimes against humanity because they tolerated and enabled sex crimes.

The ICC has not taken up the case but has never said why. It generally does not comment on why it does not take up cases.

NOT LIKE A CEO

The Vatican has consistently said that a pope cannot be held accountable for cases of abuse committed by others because priests are employees of individual dioceses around the world and not direct employees of the Vatican. It says the head of the church cannot be compared to the CEO of a company.

Victims groups have said Benedict, particularly in his previous job at the head of the Vatican’s doctrinal department, turned a blind eye to the overall policies of local Churches, which moved abusers from parish to parish instead of defrocking them and handing them over to authorities.

The Vatican has denied this. The pope has apologized for abuse in the Church, has met with abuse victims on many of his trips, and ordered a major investigation into abuse in Ireland.

But groups representing some of the victims say the Pope will leave office with a stain on his legacy because he was in positions of power in the Vatican for more than three decades, first as a cardinal and then as pope, and should have done more.

The scandals began years before the then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected pope in 2005 but the issue has overshadowed his papacy from the beginning, as more and more cases came to light in dioceses across the world.

As recently as last month, the former archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahony, was stripped by his successor of all public and administrative duties after a thousands of pages of files detailing abuse in the 1980s were made public.

Mahony, who was archbishop of Los Angeles from 1985 until 2011, has apologized for “mistakes” he made as archbishop, saying he had not been equipped to deal with the problem of sexual misconduct involving children. The pope was not named in that case.

In 2007, the Los Angeles archdiocese, which serves 4 million Catholics, reached a $660 million civil settlement with more than 500 victims of child molestation, the biggest agreement of its kind in the United States.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the pope “gave the fight against sexual abuse a new impulse, ensuring that new rules were put in place to prevent future abuse and to listen to victims. That was a great merit of his papacy and for that we will be grateful”.

(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Additional reporting by Robin Pomeroy; Edited by Simon Robinson and Giles Elgood)