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Philadelphia's Smoking Gun


A local television news station in Philadelphia has obtained a document that appears to be a form used to prevent any archdiocesan officials from reporting sex abuse by clergy to civil authorities. The document, which is dated 10/03, was apparently crafted more than a year after the Dallas norms were adopted. Those norms not only required church officials to report criminal acts, but required them to inform victims of their rights under civil law. This document flies in the face of those Dallas norms.
Later today, SNAP is planning a protest outside the Cathedral in Philadelphia that will call attention to this new document, the likes of which they say they have never seen before. According to press release from SNAP:
"The one-page form, titled “Prohibition to Release Information – pertaining to reported sexual abuse by clergy, other religious and lay employees,” appears to have been created in October 2003, more than a year after America’s bishops adopted a national abuse policy that mandates “openness and transparency” in child sex cases.

Cafardi on Philly


Nicholas Cafardi, Dean Emeritus of the Duquesne University Law School and an original member of the national review board for the protection of children, has a detailed article up about the abuse crisis in Philadelphia over at Commonweal.

Cafardi, of course, wrote the book -- literally -- on the Church's practices before Dallas, and his article sums up some of that history. But if the situation in Philadelphia were not bad enough, Cafardi shows how the rot has spread, detailing the involvement of Bishops Joseph Cistone and Michael Burbridge -- now serving as the bishops of Saginaw and Raleigh respectively -- and how they were involved in some of the questionable decisions at the heart of this mess.

It should be clear by now that the civil authorities will get to the bottom of this, that no deeds will be left in the dark, that the truth will come out.

The Papist's Log


The American Papist begins his Lenten reflection with these words: "Lent is a time for self-reflection and amendment of one’s ways. It’s a time to ask ourselves, "What more can I do? What must I refrain from doing? What have I done wrong?"" So far, so good.
But, the young Papist does not tarry at the task of self-reflection. Why bother with that log in one's own eye when there is that nasty speck in they brother's eye? The Papist goes on to suggest that Catholics who support President Obama should "come clean" on the subject of the President's supposed anti-Catholic misdeeds. He repeats the usual canards about abortion funding in the health care bill, the horror of the anti-bullying campaign at the Department of Education, etc.
Youth should be forgiven many of its enthusiasms. But, even so, the Papist's screed took my breathe away.

Card. O'Malley: Situation in Philly \"Very Disturbing\"


In comments to the Boston Globe, Cardinal Sean O'Malley, OFM Cap, called the situation in Philadelphia, where 21 priests were removed from active ministry after investigations were reopened into charges of sex abuse last month, "very disturbing."

You can read the article here.

As well, in an article in the local newspaper in Trenton, Bishop David O'Connell called the situation in Philly "troubling."

These statements follow on one made earlier in the week by New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond, who said the situation in Philadelphia was "embarassing."

One can only hope that these public comments are evidence of the fact that bishops are now seeking to hold each other accountable. While the untrained ear might find such comments very mild, the fact that these bishops are willing to raise questions about a situation in another diocese is somewhat unprecedented.

The King Hearings Begin


Rep. Peter King made the statement that there was nothing “radical or un-American” about holding his hearings into the supposed radicalization of American Muslims. He is wrong, not complexly wrong, simply wrong.

Part of the American national character, observed sometimes in the breach, has been a commitment to the proposition, enshrined in our Constitution, that the government does not concern itself with a person’s religion. But, these hearings are not focused on the radicalization of religious zealotry per se, only on the radicalization of American Muslims. That kind of singling out of a religious group is akin to the anti-Semitic slurs about the “Jewish lobby” in Washington and the charge of dual loyalty long leveled against American Jews.

Mean-Spirited Injustice in Florida


In Winconsin, they attack unions. In Florida, the GOP controlled state government is attacking former felons and their right to vote.
This morning's Washington Post reports that Gov. Rick Scott and the state's executive clemency board voted to revoke rules adopted under his Republican predecessor that made it easier for former felons, once they had completed their sentence, to regain their voting rights. Since 2007, 154,000 ex-felons have had their rights to vote restored.
You would think that helping an ex-felon get reconnected with his community through the exercise of the most basic right and duty of citizenship would be just the kind of thing you would want an ex-felon to do. But, not if many of those ex-felons are minorities who might vote for the Dems.

Wisconsin & The Dems Opportunity


Well, the Wisconsin Republicans finally showed their true colors. In a brazen, and potentially unconstitutional, move, yesterday they stripped the provisions eliminating collective bargaining rights for most state employees from the budget bill, avoiding the necessity of a three-fifths quorum, and then passed the union-busting bill as a stand alone measure.

This is in direct contradiction to the values set forth by the Wisconsin bishops, who had written to the state legislators arguing that the budget such not be balanced by stealing away fundamental rights to organize and collectively bargain. Indeed, as the bishops acknowledged, the need to balance the budget might require some concessions from all, but it cannot entail abandonment of a fundamental right. The Wisconsin State Senate has gone one further. It has attacked the fundamental rights of workers in a way that is unrelated to the budget at all. Governor Scott Walker is expected to sign the measure as soon as it clears the GOP-controlled House.


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