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'Sex abuse cover-up was intuitive, needed no Vatican direction'

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This author argues that a clerical stuctural order of secrecy has existed throughout the church and so no Vatican order was necessary to cover up the clergy sex abuse scandal. "An explicit Vatican policy that demanded secrecy in the sex abuse matters would be much easier to overturn than a culture which took it for granted."

"No ban may have been intended on denouncing the crimes to civil authorities, but neither was any explicit ban necessary. The denunciations never came. In Catholic terms, the church was structurally sinful."

Try if they like, inevitably the force for an assessment for examination, from inside and out, is only bound to grow. Without such a assessment, the church is likely to continue to implode as the once faithful walk and take their children and money with them. With an honest evaluation, leading to structural change and accountability, there is hope, that an instrument for preaching the light of the gospels will not perish from out lands.

Getting back at Stupak

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First the Susan B. Anthony List stripped Michigan Rep. Bart Stupak of previously bestowed "Defender of Life" awards. Now the Illinois Catholic Prayer Breakfast organizers have dis-invited him as this year's keynote speaker.

All because Stupak voted for the health care reform bill that included a executive order to impose restrictions on abortion, rather than the amendment he originally proposed.

With that compromise, Stupak has gone from pro-life role model to a liar, traitor and baby-killer who deserves to rot in hell.

I'm sure he can't wait to work with pro-lifers again soon.

Latest German press reactions to clergy sex abuse

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Munich, Germany

The German press in the past two days has editorialized on church sex abuse following Pope Benedict’s letter to the church in Ireland. The following are excepts as selected by Spiegel Online:

Conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
The pope "has done little to indicate the way forward for churches in Ireland or Germany, so that they may atone for past wrongs as well as avoid doing harm in the future. Nonetheless, the experiences of churches in North America and England provide a clear blueprint. It includes lessons regarding the standards for the training of priests; the necessity of breaking with the widespread past practice of showing more concern for the perpetrators than for the victims; and establishment of reporting centers that are institutionally independent of the church."

USCCB Statement on Health Care Law

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The USCCB has issued a statement, approved unanimously by their administrative committee which met in Washington today, on the health care reform bill that President Barack Obama signed into law today. In a word, the statement is balanced.

The bishops’ statement begins with praise for those parts of the law that extend coverage to millions of previously uninsured Americans. They are almost fulsome in their commendations for the effort to provide universal coverage: “We are bishops, and therefore pastors and teachers. In that role, we applaud the effort to expand health care to all.”

Haiti & mental health challenges

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"Clearly, mental health has never been a priority in this country [Haiti]."

In early February 2010, I wrote a column on the post-earthquake mental health challenges for Haitians."

The next day The Wall Street Journal reported on the pending revamp of the U.S. manual on mental health, which could dramatically impact the delivery of mental health services in the U.S.

Saturday's New York Times carries a jarring story about the state of psychiatric care in Haiti.

Bill Donohue on the New Sex Abuse Report

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Bill Donohue of the Catholic League consistently promotes the notion that the clergy sex abuse crisis is about gays in the priesthood. He does so again today, using the "audit" of compliance with the bishops' charter to buttress his claim.

Here's Donohue: "...as we have seen from several studies—including the one just released by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops—80 percent of the victims are male. Just as important, the majority of the victims are post-pubescent. In other words, we are talking about homosexuality, not pedophilia."

In fact, as the report released today clearly demonstrates, more than 70 percent of the abuse claims filed in 2009 involved children younger than 14; just 25 percent involved children over age 15. (See page 37 of the report.) These findings are consistent with previous studies.

Bishops' Statement on Health Care Expected Soon

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Most everyone, it seems, has a view of the health care bill President Obama will sign today -- except the US Bishops. That will likely change today or tomorrow. The bishops' administrative committee is meeting in Washington and word is that a statement on the bill is forthcoming.

Meanwhile, one of their colleagues, Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput offers his view in the diocesan newspaper regular column. It is a "bad bill," writes Chaput, and a process "in which self-described 'Catholic' groups have done a serious disservice to justice, to the Church, and to the ethical needs of the American people by undercutting the leadership and witness of their own bishops."

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July 18-31, 2014

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