Friday, June 09, 2023

Scottish Church welcomes comments by police chief

The police chief who stayed on to take the top job - BBC News

Sir Iain Livingstone, chief constable of Police Scotland, said that prejudice against Catholicism and Islam in the force was not “overt”. 

The head of Scotland’s police force has admitted that there are “potentially” problems with institutional bias against Catholics in his organisation.

The comments by Sir Iain Livingstone, chief constable of Police Scotland, followed a wide-ranging apology by the force for its historic and ongoing “institutional racism, sexism, misogyny and discrimination”.Asked by The Scottish Sun if these problems extended to institutional prejudice against Catholicism and Islam, Sir Iain said, “I think there potentially is.”

At present, these issues weren’t “overt”, the chief constable said.

“But in terms of overt discrimination, I’ve worked with colleagues who tell me their early experiences when they came from a minority background.”

He continued: “We as an organisation need to look at our structures, policies and practices to make sure that institutional element of discrimination is eliminated. These are social evils and we need to look them straight in the eye and make sure any discrimination, whether it is religion, race, gender, disability, whatever, is unacceptable.”

The Catholic Church in Scotland welcomed his comments, saying in a statement that his “admission that anti-Catholic bias may exist within Police Scotland is both frank and honest. The first step in dealing with a problem is to admit it exists.”

The Church is now hopeful a meeting can be arranged with senior officers.

Police Scotland, founded by an amalgamation of Scotland’s police services in 2013, has attracted criticism, as several of its predecessor organisations did, over perceived inaction towards anti-Catholic sectarianism in Scotland.

In 2021 Call It Out, the national campaign against anti-Catholic and anti-Irish prejudice in Scotland, suggested police were failing to use their power to regulate Orange Order marches and so failing to prevent public displays of sectarianism.

As recently as December last year a police officer was awarded £44,000 after a tribunal found he had been subjected to religious harassment while working in an armed unit of Police Scotland, with his belongings decorated with messages attacking Catholicism and promoting Ulster loyalist paramilitary groups. 

Anti-Catholic sentiment in Scotland has decreased significantly in recent decades but has deep historic roots in the traditionally Presbyterian nation.

This year marks the hundredth anniversary of a notorious Church of Scotland report titled  “The menace of the Irish race to our Scottish nationality”, advocating the deportation of Irish Catholics, a policy pursued by the Church in the interwar years.

Although the Church of Scotland officially apologised for sectarianism in 2002, and, according to leading Scottish Catholic historian Tom Devine, anti-Catholicism as a socio-economic force is “on its deathbed”, recent years have been marked by a spate of anti-Catholic vandalism and public disturbances. 

The most recent statistics on religiously-aggravated offences indicate 42 per cent of reported attacks were motivated by anti-Catholic prejudice, larger than any other motivation, despite Catholics only amounting to around 15 per cent of the Scottish population.

Catholic, Orthodox theologians agree on first new text since 2016

Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic  Church and the Orthodox Church - Wikipedia

A joint commission of Catholic and Orthodox theologians reached agreement this week on a new document addressing synodality and primacy in the modern era.  

Members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church approved the text “Synodality and Primacy in the Second Millennium and Today” at a meeting in the Egyptian city of Alexandria. 

It is the first time in almost seven years that the commission has approved a new document, following the 2016 text “Synodality and Primacy During the First Millennium.” 

The meeting, hosted by the Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria, took place at a time of considerable ecumenical turbulence, driven by the Ukraine war.

In addition to an 18-strong Catholic delegation — led by Cardinal Kurt Koch, prefect of the Vatican’s Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity — 24 representatives of 10 autonomous Orthodox Churches took part.

The Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches are respectively the world’s first- and second-largest Christian communions.

Historians date the division between Eastern and Western Christians to the Great Schism in 1054, but the separation of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Churches was a long process driven by political as well as theological differences.

Catholics and Orthodox Christians continue to disagree over the precise nature of the Bishop of Rome’s relationship with other sees, with different perspectives on “papal primacy of jurisdiction,” also known simply as “primacy.”

The Eastern Orthodox Churches have synodal structures, meaning that synods of bishops play a fundamental role within the autonomous Churches. Pope Francis has launched a worldwide process aimed at promoting “synodality” in the Catholic Church.

The commission said in a communiqué that participants were presented with a draft of the new text at the start of the June 1-7 meeting.

It said: “A first reading of the text over several days brought numerous suggested amendments and revisions, which were then implemented by a drafting committee composed of three Orthodox and three Roman Catholic members. During the discussion there was an exchange of different views.” 

“The revised text was then submitted to the plenary, which discussed it in detail and reached agreement on the document … Disagreement with some paragraphs of the document was expressed by the delegation of the Patriarchate of Georgia.”

The communiqué noted that the theologians had sought to achieve “as far as possible a common reading” of the history of synodality and primacy in the East and West in the second millennium (between the years 1001 and 2000).

The document, which runs to almost 7,000 words in English, says that “major issues complicate an authentic understanding of synodality and primacy in the Church.” 

“The Church is not properly understood as a pyramid, with a primate governing from the top, but neither is it properly understood as a federation of self-sufficient Churches,” it says. 

“Our historical study of synodality and primacy in the second millennium has shown the inadequacy of both of these views.”

It concludes that “the interdependence of synodality and primacy is a fundamental principle in the life of the Church” and the principle “should be invoked to meet the needs and requirements of the Church in our time.”

Orthodox participants represented the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Patriarchate of Alexandria, the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Patriarchate of Romania, the Patriarchate of Georgia, the Church of Cyprus, the Church of Greece, the Church of Poland, the Church of Albania, and the Church of the Czech Lands and Slovakia.

Absent from the list provided by the Vatican were other autocephalous Orthodox Churches such as the Serbian Orthodox Church, and the Russian Orthodox Church, highlighting the tensions within Orthodoxy over ecumenism and other matters.

In 2019, Patriarch Theodore II recognized the autonomy of the Orthodox Church of Ukraine (OCU), prompting the Russian Orthodox Church to sever ties with his Patriarchate of Alexandria and All Africa and create a rival Patriarchal Exarchate of Africa.

The joint international commission was established by the Holy See and 14 autocephalous Orthodox Churches. There are separate commissions for theological dialogue with the ancient Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Assyrian Church of the East.

The Orthodox Church joint commission has previously approved documents at Rhodes (1980), Munich (1982), Bari (1987), Valamo (1988), Balamand (1993), and Ravenna (2007), as well as the 2016 document in Chieti. The new text will also be known as the “Alexandria Document.”

At a June 1 opening ceremony in Alexandria, Patriarch Theodore II stressed the need for “sincerity, honesty, and mutual respect” in theological dialogue.

“The course of the theological dialogue between the two Churches to date has shown us that in order to start a dialogue, conditions of mutual trust and goodwill must be created. Conditions of freedom and love. This is very important,” he said.

On behalf of Pope Francis, Cardinal Koch, the commission’s Catholic co-chairman, gave Theodore II a copy of St. Peter’s Square’s foundation stone, laid in 1657. 

On June 3, the patriarch attended a Catholic liturgy celebrated by Koch at St. Catherine’s Cathedral, the cathedral of the Apostolic Vicariate of Alexandria of Egypt.

Also present were Metropolitan Job of Pisidia, the commission’s Orthodox co-chairman, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, the prefect of the Dicastery for the Eastern Churches, and the U.S. Cardinal Joseph Tobin, a member of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity.

Survey: permanent deacon numbers in U.S. expected 'to remain stable' but continue slow decline

An older white man wearing glasses and a white chasuble adjusts the vestments of a bald Black man

Results of an annual survey on the permanent diaconate of the U.S. Catholic Church show the estimated number of deacons in active ministry was 13,695 in 2022, the lowest since 2011.

"While the share of active permanent deacons in the Latin Church is forecasted to remain relatively stable (72%±3% in 2027), this trend is in keeping with the slow decline in the diaconate over the past several years," said a report on the survey results released June 8 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

At the same time "an unusually high number of men (910) were ordained to the permanent diaconate in 2022," it said. "Since 2014, the estimated number of ordinations averaged 642."

The Archdiocese of Chicago had the greatest number of permanent deacons (868) followed by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston (361) and the Archdiocese of New York (350). The dioceses ranking fourth and fifth in number of deacons were the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois, which had 322 deacons, and the Diocese of Rockville Centre, New York, with 318.

The Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate conducted the survey on behalf of the USCCB Secretariat of Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. CARA, based at Georgetown University in Washington, conducts social scientific studies for and about the Catholic Church.

Since 2005, CARA has conducted a yearly survey on the diaconate to provide statistics and forecast trends on the state of the permanent diaconate in the U.S.

The report released by the USCCB is based on a survey conducted in 2023 about 2022. Altogether, dioceses and eparchies that responded to the survey represent an estimated 81% of all permanent deacons in the United States, according to the report.

"Permanent deacons are essential to the Church's ministry of love and service, especially to the poor and vulnerable," Bishop Earl A. Boyea of Lansing, Michigan, chairman of the USCCB's Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations, said in a statement accompanying the report's release.

"By virtue of their ordination, they give witness to Christ the Servant in the daily exercise of their work and ministry," he said. "I invite all the faithful to continue to pray for our deacons that they may remain faithful to their vocation of bringing Christ's presence to all."

The survey also showed that most active deacons are between 60-69 years old (41%) or age 70 or older (36%). Most permanent deacons are white (76%) followed by Hispanic/Latino (18%), Asian/Pacific Islander (3%), African American/Black (3%) and Native American/other (1%), the report said.

"Deacons fill a wide range of ministerial positions in the church," it said. "The most common position is a parish ministerial position, such as a DRE or youth minister (22%), followed by ensuring the pastoral care of one or more parishes (21%), a parish non-ministerial position, such as administration or business (15%), diocesan non-ministerial positions (9%), and hospital ministry (9%)."

Abuse claims and outrage mount as Jesuit order and church in Bolivia undergo a tectonic shake

Bolivian bishops offer 'solidarity' after Pedrajas abuse report

Revelations of rampant sexual abuse by deceased Jesuit Fr. Alfonso Pedrajas have prompted dozens of people in Bolivia to come forward with similar accusations of atrocities in the South American country, where the Catholic Church confronts a reckoning over the criminal acts of pedophile priests.

An investigation by Bolivian newspaper Página Siete found more than 170 victims of clerical sexual abuse being raised since early May, when the Spanish newspaper El País published its exposé into Pedrajas -- a Spanish Jesuit who kept a record of his abuse of children by writing a diary.

"What El País has achieved has been the victims connecting with each other, interacting with each other, daring to speak out. Many of the victims are more than 50 years old," Raphael Archondo, an academic and former director of Fides, a news outlet supported by Bolivia's Jesuits, told OSV News.

"There's a wave of complaints and it's opened a lot of spaces for complaints to be filed," he said.

The bishops' conference has condemned the actions of pedophile priests, while acknowledging they failed victims, who "found a church deaf to their sufferings."

The Jesuit province in Bolivia apologized and expressed "shame" and "regret" for what happened and promised to seek justice for the victims. The Jesuits have suspended eight former provincials who failed to act against Pedrajas.

The Society of Jesus (the Jesuits) opened a "listen and care" channel for receiving complaints in May -- it allows for complaints to be received via email or WhatsApp messages -- but said in a June 4 statement it had received only four accusations, one each against a pair of deceased Jesuits and two against a priest in the Diocese of Tarija.

The statement identified the Jesuits as Pedrajas -- whose diary contained descriptions of sexual abuse over four decades of working in Bolivian and Latin American schools -- along with Fr. Jorge Vila, who was accused of abusing a 13-year-old student at a Jesuit school in the early 1990s.

The Jesuits died in 2009 and 2012, respectively. Vila had become known in Bolivia for his defense of children's rights, according to an obituary. He was a founder of Defensa de Niños y Niñas Internacional (DNI Bolivia -- Defense of Children International).

The unidentified priest in the Diocese of Tarija was not a Jesuit, but the Jesuits said they have "supported the handling of two other cases of sexual abuse against a priest from the Diocese of Tarija, since for now it is the only channel of its kind that operates in the Bolivian church and cannot neglect the victims of persons from other ecclesial settings."

The Diocese of Tarija has been among the dioceses hit with accusations of clerical sexual abuse.

Fr. Otto Strauss, 83, a German-born priest in the Diocese of Tarija, was scheduled to appear at a preliminary hearing in Tarija on June 6 -- which was postponed due to the priest's health -- for a sexual abuse accusation dating back to 1988, according to local media.

Carmelite Fr. Milton Murillo, was ordered held in jail for three months on accusations of sexually abusing seminarians in Tarija and La Paz, Bolivian media reported May 18.

The Society of Jesus has recognized that four Spanish-born Jesuits have been accused of sexually abusing minors in Bolivia. They also include the late Archbishop Alejandro Mestre of La Paz, who died in 1988, and Fr. Luis María Roma Padrosa.

Roma is accused of abusing an unknown number of children between the ages of seven and 12 in Charagua, a town in eastern Bolivia. The Jesuits first learned of the accusations in 2019 from the Spanish news organization EFE, according to a May 14 statement.

He was suspended from ministry in 2019 at 84 -- already suffering from dementia. The Jesuit curia delivered the results of its investigation into Roma to prosecutors May 9. The evidence included "alarming photographic material," according to the statement.

Two elderly Jesuits, Frs. Carlos Villamil (called 'Vico') and Francesc Peris (called 'Chesco'), who both worked with Pedrajas at the Juan XXIII Collegiate in Cochabamba during the 1980s, face accusations of sexual abuse from former students, according to El País.

The Jesuits said May 16 that they had not received any complaints against Villamil and Peris.

"It is true that other names have been mentioned recently in the press and it is likely that there will be a complaint, but the Society (of Jesus) does not know anything more about it regarding allegations of abuse," Gabriel Chávez, a spokesperson for the Jesuit curia in Bolivia, told OSV News.

"The Society (of Jesus) is inviting victims to file complaints. Of course, if a new case is filed, the Society will notify the prosecutor's office immediately."

The publication of Pedrajas' diary has caused outrage in Bolivia -- with the government proposing strict child protection laws in response and calling for a revision of agreements between Bolivia and the Vatican.

Protests have erupted outside of churches, while the words "rapists" are spray painted on the outside walls.

Some of the Jesuits accused of abuse had become prominent in the country.

The Bolivian bishops' conference has promised to establish a National Listening Commission and a national investigation to determine wrongdoing and improve transparency.

Meanwhile, the education arm of the Bolivian bishops' conference, along with groups representing parents of Jesuit schoolchildren and Jesuit school alumni, issued a June 1 statement urging the government to respect the rights of families to choose Catholic education.

The statement said: "We ask that the freedom of choice of education that each family chooses be respected, let us remember that the country is governed by a democracy in which the form of educating constitutes a human freedom, generating human beings capable of living and coexisting together, guided by respect for others and avoiding confrontations and unnecessary damage."

Texas Carmelites Case Reflects the Vatican’s New Culture of Ecclesial Punishments

Fort Worth bishop dismisses Carmelite mother superior in latest in Texas  monastery-diocese dispute – Catholic World Report

The curious case of the Carmelites in Texas brings attention to a culture shift in the Church. Ecclesiastical punishment has made a return. 

Indeed, one of the hallmarks of the Pope Francis pontificate is that punishment is back, sometimes fiercely so.

Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth was investigating the local Carmelite monastery. In response to his actions, the sisters sued in both canonical and civil court, seeking damages of $1 million in the latter filing. 

That itself was highly unusual, given that religious-liberty concerns usually militate against secular courts intervening in canonical matters, to say nothing of St. Paul’s view that Christians ought not have recourse to civil courts (1 Corinthians 6).

Bishop Olson did not take kindly to the civil lawsuit and told the nuns that until they dropped it, they would no longer have daily Mass and access to confession. In the fast-moving case, Rome gave Bishop Olson total control over the monastery, after which he summarily dismissed the superior for sexual immorality (which he announced publicly) and then restored daily Mass

There is clearly a mess in Texas, but what is striking is how swift and severe were the punishments Bishop Olson delivered — and how little stir they caused. Forty years ago, when Rome moved modestly against a handful of dissident theologians, the howls of protest echoed for years, even decades. 

Then ecclesiastical punishments were rare and light; today, they are frequent and severe. The culture has shifted. 

The principal cause is the sexual-abuse crisis. In his 2010 interview book, Light of the World, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about how the culture of punishment had simply disappeared in many places.

“The Archbishop of Dublin [Diarmuid Martin] told me something very interesting about that,” Benedict said. “He said that ecclesiastical penal law functioned until the late 1950s; admittedly it was not perfect — there is much to criticize about it — but nevertheless it was applied. After the mid-60s, however, it was simply not applied anymore.”

After the various waves of scandal, the law came back with a vengeance. The one-strike policy is now universal regarding abuse of minors, and standard practice is that initial punishments are administered instantly. Once an allegation is received, the priest is often out of ministry, his home and his clerical attire by sundown. 

Such measures are widely supported as necessary to protect the vulnerable, punish offenders and restore ecclesial credibility. A massive change in ecclesial culture has been wrought by the crisis.

With the election of Pope Francis, the law took a central place in Rome’s pastoral approach. The Holy Father has issued dozens of legislative acts and completed the long process of completely revising Book VI of the Code of Canon Law, which deals with punishments. 

Pope Francis continued the high-profile punishments that Pope Benedict administered to founders of new movements, most notably Father Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, early in his pontificate. 

A new culture has now emerged — a culture that makes imaginable a bishop cutting off Holy Communion from Carmelite nuns. Such a thing would have simply been unimaginable before.

In the United States, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco prohibited Nancy Pelosi, then speaker of the House, from receiving Holy Communion in his archdiocese. Several other bishops supported him. That it happened now, though long debated, is part of the new culture of punishment. 

Consider that four decades after dissenting theologian Father Hans Küng was moved from the faculty of Catholic theology to the department of ecumenical theology, all the while continuing to teach at the same German university, his case is still invoked as a case of Roman severity. 

Four months after Frank Pavone was dismissed from the priesthood altogether, everyone had moved on. In the new culture of punishment, such things are expected and are no longer remarkable.

In recent weeks, Pope Francis appointed new bishops for the Dioceses of Toowoomba, Australia, and Évreux, France. That was something of a coincidence, but a timely reminder of how unusual it used to be to remove a bishop from his diocese. 

In Évreux, Pope St. John Paul II removed Bishop Jacques Gaillot in 1995. It was an extended process over many years, with various deputations being sent to Bishop Gaillot to persuade him to return to Catholic orthodoxy. When John Paul finally removed him, it was an ecclesial and political earthquake in France and beyond.

In Toowoomba, Bishop William Morris was another case of dissent. Pope Benedict XVI sent Archbishop Charles Chaput to conduct a visitation in 2007. It took another four years after that for Benedict to finally remove Bishop Morris in 2011.

No longer. Last year, Pope Francis “relieved” Bishop Daniel Fernández Torres from his Diocese of Arecibo in Puerto Rico. He was only 57. While no reason was given, it appeared that Bishop Fernández was at odds with his brother bishops over seminary formation and pandemic policy. 

For a bishop to be thrown out of office for such matters under John Paul or Benedict would have been impossible to imagine. 

Remember Bishop Martin Holley of Memphis? Likely not. He was sent to Memphis in 2016, and soon after there were complaints of his management style. A visitation was sent to Memphis in 2018, and Pope Francis deposed him later that year. 

When Bishop Gaillot died two months ago, his case was still well known in France, and his funeral was celebrated by the archbishop of Paris. Bishop Holley’s case is hardly remembered five years later.

Just days after Bishop Gaillot’s funeral, Pope Francis sacked French Archbishop Luc Ravel of Strasbourg. In France, there have been several bishops quickly removed for personal misconduct, though that was not the case with Archbishop Ravel, who was pushed out over pastoral (mis)governance.

Early on, in 2014, Pope Francis sacked Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst of Limburg, Germany, after a controversy over spending on his residence. Many others have followed. 

Indeed, a bishop being forced out is no longer a major Catholic story, as it was in the days of Bishops Gaillot or Morris. 

It’s no longer an anomaly, but the new culture. 

A culture shaped by Francis, the pope of law and punishment. 

In the 1960s, the Church had forgotten about both. 

Has the balance now been restored?

Father James Jackson Pleads Guilty in Child Pornography Case

Father James Jackson, FSSP, delivers the homily at the funeral Mass for slain Boulder police officer Eric Talley on March 29, 2021, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Denver, Colorado

Traditional Latin Mass priest Father James Jackson pleaded guilty to a federal child pornography charge Thursday and now must wait to find out how long he might spend in prison.

In a plea agreement he signed ahead of his scheduled June 20 trial, Father Jackson, 68, a priest of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP), admitted to a single charge of receipt of child pornography. U.S. District Court Judge William Smith, sitting in Providence, Rhode Island, set a sentencing date of Sept. 11.

Prosecutors will seek the mandatory minimum of five years in prison and will move to dismiss a second count of possession of child pornography, Jim Rosenberg, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, told CNA. Each charge carried a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine.

The priest must still face pending criminal charges related to a child pornography investigation in Kansas, authorities there have said.

Father Jackson, then just three months into his assignment as pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Providence, was arrested on Oct. 30, 2021, after an investigation by a state computer crimes task force. Jackson previously served at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Littleton, Colorado.

According to an affidavit, investigators obtained a warrant to search his rectory in Providence where they found large amounts of child sex abuse material stored on an external hard drive in an office near Father Jackson’s bedroom.

Father Jackson’s order issued a statement Thursday following his guilty plea. 

“The North American Province of the Fraternity of St. Peter is aware that on June 8, 2023, Father James Jackson entered a guilty plea in exchange for a reduced sentence. The Fraternity of St. Peter pledges to cooperate with civil and ecclesiastical authorities in this case,” the statement said.

“Father Jackson has not had faculties to function publicly as a priest since his arrest in October 2021. Until Father Jackson was arrested, the Fraternity of St. Peter was not aware of anything in his words or behavior that could give rise to suspicion concerning such actions,” the statement said. “Crimes of this type are execrable, and Catholics should pray for the victims of pornography and work to put an end to its industry.”

Father Jackson appeared in court June 8 wearing a light brown prison outfit over a brown long-sleeve shirt. He wore glasses and had a white beard. One of Father Jackson’s supporters was present in the courtroom.

During the hearing, Father Jackson listened quietly as Assistant U.S. Attorney John McAdams presented the government’s case against him, describing in detail several videos of child pornography that were in the priest’s possession.

When questioned by the judge if he had heard and agreed with the facts presented, he responded, “Yes, your honor.”

Asked how he wished to plead to the charge, Father Jackson responded, “Guilty, your honor.”

Father Jackson’s supporters rallied around the priest after his arrest, contributing tens of thousands of dollars for his defense.

Kansas Charges Pending

The Kansas investigation of Father Jackson, conducted by a local police department in Overland Park, began sometime after he was allowed to return to the midwestern state to live with a relative while waiting for the federal charges to be adjudicated.

Officer John Lacy, a spokesman for the Overland Park Police Department, told CNA in May that Jackson would be charged with a crime once the charges in Rhode Island were adjudicated. He said that an investigation was ongoing but he would not elaborate on the nature of the charge.

Lacy said that the state charge would be brought by the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office in Olathe, Kansas.

In response to the Kansas investigation, Father Jackson’s federal probation officer issued a petition to the U.S. District Court in Providence alleging that the priest broke the conditions of his pretrial release that allowed him to live in Leawood, Kansas, with his sister.

U.S. marshals arrested Father Jackson in Kansas in July 2022 and brought him back to the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Central Falls, Rhode Island.

At an Oct. 3 hearing in U.S. District Court in Providence, Jackson admitted that the government could prove that he violated the condition of his pretrial release prohibiting him from “possessing any materials including videos, magazines, photographs, computer-generated depictions, or any other forms that depict sexually explicit conduct involving children,” Rosenberg, the U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman, told CNA.

Father Jackson also admitted that the government could prove that he violated the condition prohibiting him from having access to more than one internet-connected device, the spokesman said.

“To be very clear — he did NOT admit that he committed the new crime, only that the government could establish probable cause that he did,” Rosenberg emphasized.

Archbishop of Canterbury urges Church of Uganda to reject anti-LGBT law

Archbishop of Canterbury urges Ugandans to reject anti-gay law

Archbishop Justin Welby has urged the Church of Uganda to reconsider its support for the Anti-Homosexuality Act and said there is "no justification" for any Anglican province to support such legislation.

The Archbishop has also called on the leadership of GAFCON and the GSFA to make "explicitly and publicly clear" that no Anglican province can support the criminalisation of LGBTQ people.

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on the Anglican Church of Uganda to "reject the criminalisation of LGBTQ people" following its support for the Anti-Homosexuality Act recently signed into Ugandan law by President Yoweri Museveni.

The Archbishop also calls on the leadership of the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) movement and the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) to make "explicitly and publicly clear that the criminalisation of LGBTQ people is something that no Anglican province can support," adding: "That must be stated unequivocally."

In a statement today, Archbishop Justin explains that he recently wrote privately to the Primate of Uganda, Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba, to make clear that the Church of Uganda's support for the Act is "a fundamental departure from our commitment to uphold the freedom and dignity of all people."

The Archbishop has reminded Archbishop Kaziimba that the Anglican Communion has long been united in its opposition to the criminalisation of LGBTQ people and its condemnation of homophobia.

In his statement the Archbishop says: "This is not about imposing Western values on our Ugandan Anglican sisters and brothers. It is about reminding them of the commitments we have made as Anglicans to treat every person with the care and respect they deserve as children of God."

Speaking of his "grief and dismay" at the Church of Uganda's support for the new laws, the Archbishop says: "There is no justification for any province of the Anglican Communion to support such laws: not in our resolutions, not in our teachings, and not in the Gospel we share."

"Within the Anglican Communion we continue to disagree over matters of sexuality, but in our commitment to God-given human dignity we must be united," the Archbishop says.

Read the Archbishop of Canterbury's statement in full:

"I have recently written to my brother in Christ, the Primate of Uganda, Archbishop Stephen Kaziimba, to express my grief and dismay at the Church of Uganda's support for the Anti-Homosexuality Act. I make this public statement with sorrow, and with continuing prayers for reconciliation between our churches and across the Anglican Communion. I am deeply aware of the history of colonial rule in Uganda, so heroically resisted by its people. But this is not about imposing Western values on our Ugandan Anglican sisters and brothers. It is about reminding them of the commitments we have made as Anglicans to treat every person with the care and respect they deserve as children of God.

"Within the Anglican Communion we continue to disagree over matters of sexuality, but in our commitment to God-given human dignity we must be united. I have reminded Archbishop Kaziimba that Anglicans around the world have long been united in our opposition to the criminalisation of homosexuality and LGBTQ people. Supporting such legislation is a fundamental departure from our commitment to uphold the freedom and dignity of all people. There is no justification for any province of the Anglican Communion to support such laws: not in our resolutions, not in our teachings, and not in the Gospel we share.

"The Church of Uganda, like many Anglican provinces, holds to the traditional Christian teaching on sexuality and marriage set out in Resolution i.10 of the 1998 Lambeth Conference. That resolution also expressed a commitment to minister pastorally and sensitively to all - regardless of sexual orientation - and to condemn homophobia. I have said to Archbishop Kaziimba that I am unable to see how the Church of Uganda's support for the Anti-Homosexuality Act is consistent with its many statements in support of Resolution i.10.

"More recently, at the 2016 Primates Meeting in Canterbury, the Primates of the Anglican Communion "condemned homophobic prejudice and violence and resolved to work together to offer pastoral care and loving service irrespective of sexual orientation." We affirmed that this conviction arises out of our discipleship of Jesus Christ. We also "reaffirmed our rejection of criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people" - and stated that "God's love for every human being is the same, regardless of their sexuality, and that the church should never by its actions give any other impression."

"These statements and commitments are the common mind of the Anglican Communion on the essential dignity and value of every person. I therefore urge Archbishop Kaziimba and the Church of Uganda - a country and church I love dearly, and to which I owe so much - to reconsider their support for this legislation and reject the criminalisation of LGBTQ people.

"I also call on my brothers in Christ, the leadership of GAFCON and the Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA), to make explicitly and publicly clear that the criminalisation of LGBTQ people is something that no Anglican province can support: that must be stated unequivocally.

"As disciples of Jesus Christ we are called to honour the image of God in every person, and I pray for Anglicans to be uncompromising and united in this calling."