Wednesday, February 28, 2007

An Focal Scóir - February 2007

Well, my beloved readers, here is the synopsis of the month that is February (almost) and as previously explained, my reason for getting it up now is due to the onset of Lent which begins tomorrow (Wednesday 21st )…

Despite my attempts to narrow down the system so as to present the top 5 in the 4 categories, it was next to near impossible so the following list gives the popularity rating of the stories carried on the blog for the period covered…

1. Same Sex Unions / Rights

2. Clerical Errors etc…

3. Vatican Diplomacy, Meetings etc…

4. Ecumenism

5. Papal Pronouncements

6. Parsons Parodies

7. Abortion

8. Contributions

9. Child Sex Abuse

10. Love, Marriage, Sex


1. Same Sex Unions / Rights

Italian Bishops Not Happy at Proposed Legislation

Government to Submit Same Sex unions Bill (Italy)

1st Gay Couple Weds (Mexico)

Jews Battle New Gay Law (UK)

Religious Unity Through Homosexuality (UK)

RC Church Failing To Prevent Homophobic Bullying In Schools (UK)

Tale Of 2 Catholics (NZ)

RC Church Responds To Homophobic Bullying Allegations (UK)

Same Sex Adoptions – Blair Offers Resolution (UK)

Most Homophobic Country – Northern Ireland

Gay Bashing GP (UK)

Ministry To Homosexuals – Westminster Diocese (UK)

Gay Union Bill Approved (Italy)
Vatican Gay Witch Hunt Begins (USA)

Civil & Same Sex Union – Bishops Prepare Document (Italy)

Disney Threatens Galway Gay Society (Ireland)

Gaydar Founder Dead (Universal)

Same Sex Rights Under Attack (France)

Anglican Angst At Gay Rights (Tanzania)

RC Nun Praised By Stonewall (USA)

Same Sex Adoptions (USA)

RC Church Will Break Law (Scotland)

Il Papa Stirring The Shit Again!! (Vatican)

80% in Favour of Same Sex Rights (Italy)

Il Papa Family Law Handbook Published (Vatican)

Sexual Orientation Regulations – Time Up (??) (UK)

Il Papa Told To Back Off By Politicians (Italy)

Il Papa Responds To Politicians (Vatican)

“No Same Sex Unions Here” says RC Bishop (Puerto Rico)

Gay Mass Allowed (UK)

Watch Your (Gay) Language (Scotland)

Vatican Warned About Opposition To Same Sex Unions (Italy)

2. Clerical Errors etc…

Priests Not Toeing Vatican Line (Vatican)

Vatican Anger Continues (Vatican)

S(e)oul Of Millingo (1)

Bishop Not Allowed Contest Election (Paraguay)

Priest Suspended In Attack Arrested (USA)

S(e)oul Of Millingo (2)

Il Papa No Laicise (Paraguay)

Group Says John Paul II To Return as Anti-Christ (Universal)

Majority of Polish RC Priests Want To Marry

Polish Prelate Meets Il Papa

SSPX Upsetting Orthodox Church (Ukraine)

AIDS Ministry Closes (USA)

(Catholic) Bloggers Not Appreciated (Universal)

Controversial Bishops Beware (Universal)

Clerical Assault Priest Waives Extradition Rights (USA)

Chinese Cathedral Set For Official Re-Opening

Racism In The Religious Life?

Terna List For Diocese Of Ossory (Ireland)

Ordinations A Sign Of Hope (Iraq)

Care Of Bishops Souls – Lay Movements Can Help (Vatican)

Bishop Speaks Of Excommunication (Austria)

Battle Of The Bishops (Italy)

Galway Novena A Success – Flannery (Ireland)

Chinese Ordinations An Act Of War – Zen (Vatican)

Pentecost Worries Vatican
Bertone – the Next Il Papa ? (Vatican)

Sisters Out! – Vatican Orders (Vatican & Germany)

Slight Growth In Number of RC Clergy (Vatican)

Priests Wrongly Accused (Prague)

1st RC Bishop Appointed (Nepal)

Orthodox Church Split (Ukraine)

Review Of Protection Guidelines (UK)

Millingo Missing from Annuario Pontificio (Vatican)

Polish Scarlett Pimpernel (12, 13,14 & 15)

Trouble In The Big Apple (USA)

Irish Presbyterian Moderator Appointed (Ireland)

RC Church ‘Strong’ (India)

Dignitas Attacks Il Papa(s)

Sexual Assault Priest In Court (USA)

Clerical Protests (Romania)

Church In Crisis (Universal)

Clerical Imbalances (Vatican)

RC To Become Largest Faith in UK (UK)
Child Marriage Ban By RC Bishops (India)

‘Little Pebble’ In Big Trouble (Australia)

RC Bishops ‘No’ To Easter Sunday Trading

State Law v Church Law (USA)

Il Papa’s Letter to South Korea

New Canon Lawyer in Vatican

Zen Stirring It With China? (Vatican)

Lead Us Not Into Temptation (USA)

Sex Crimes Cover Up by Vatican (USA & Vatican)

Archdiocese In The Docks (3) (Ireland)

KGB v Pius XII (Vatican)

Church Restored (Cuba)

Sweet Bleeding Jesus (India)

Final (Episcopal) Countdown (USA)

3. Vatican Diplomacy, Meetings etc…

Vatican Defends Popes Publisher

Vietnam & Vatican Diplomacy (1 & 2)

Il Papa v China (8 & 9)

‘No To Violence Or War’ – Vatican Nuncio
Il Papa Speaks Orthodox

Vatican Ignores Human Rights Again!

Vatican Outrage at Jesus Costume (1&2)

Il Papa to Meet St Augustine

Il Papa Speaks to Roman Rota – On Marriage

Catholic Honour for Israeli Writer

3rd Catholic Church Burnt (Ukraine)

Zen – Papal Letter Due At Easter

Mt. Zion – No Resolution

UN Address on Behalf of Il Papa

Troubles at Mosque (Jerusalem)

RC Clergy Visit Israel

RC Reviews Its History (Slovakia)

Accord Averts Nuclear Catastrophe (North Korea)

Il President Meet Il Papa (?) (Ireland)

Vatican Silence In Slovakia

Vatican & China Under Observation

Caritas in (North) Korea

Michelangelo en-suite in Vatican (?)

Church & State Agree About School Patronage (Ireland)

State – Church Dialogue Possible (Italy)

4. Ecumenism

Catholic Oriental Orthodox Commission Report

Ecumenism Through Politics
Ut Unum Sint

Anglican RC in UK Back Plan To Unite

Archdiocese of Brisbane in Favour

Clarification: re Anglican RC Church Relations

5. Papal Pronouncements

Saints Only Human

World Day of the Sick (Plenary Indulgence Granted)

Il Papa Speaks…but not fully.

Challenge of Society
Special Vocation of Consecrated Men & Women

Euthanasia – Compassion No Excuse


World Youth Day

Global Day of Prayer

Marriage Commitment Foundation of Early Church

The Christ of Benedict XVI

Lenten Message

Tragedy Is Not Knowing God

Women Responsible for Church Growth

Celibacy For Life

RC Church ‘Alive & Young’

‘Lobbyists Anti-Family’

‘Violence Not The Answer’

7 Key Challenges for Latin America

6. Parsons Parodies

Nuns on the Run

Pin-Up Il Papa

Racy & Lacy In The Vatican

Vatican The Whore Master (?)

7. Abortion

Abortion Poll Sun 11th Feb 2007

Pro-Abortion Portugal (?)
RC Church fighting for ‘NO’ Vote

SIM (Yes) To Abortion in Portugal

Abortion Law Revisited (USA)

Abortion Clinic for Lisbon

RC Bishops Unite with Pro-Life Groups (Portugal)

Vote for Life (Ireland)

8. Contributions

Gay Man Reconcile with Catholic Upbringing

A Pink Reformation

Christian Principles Outlawed (?)

Gay, Lesbian, Transgender Saint Calendar

What Happened to Confession?

Evangelising The Homosexual…

Religion – The Violent Killer (?)
Homosexuality In The Bible

RC Church & Sexual Abstinence

RC Fundamentalism

Who Wants to be a Priest?

Sex is neither Sin nor Sacrament

RC Church to Decide its Stance on Same Sex Unions

Changing Faith – A Personal Story

Some Manly Advice

Relating to the Opposite Sex

Jean Vanier on Addressing Depression

Defection – Guidelines Published

Ashes – Not Just For Catholics

9. Child Sex Abuse

O’Gorman Not Happy (Again!!) (Irl.)

Sex Offender to be Extradited (Irl.)

National Child Protection Office – Board Announced (Irl.)

Abuse Files To Be Released (USA)

Diocese to update CSA Investigations (USA)

Garda Failure In Porn Ring (Irl.)

Gardaí Off Hook Again!! (Irl.)

Child Abusers Escape Prosecution (Irl.)

Ex-Cardinal to Meet Child Abuse Commission (Irl.)

No Mobile Porn – Bishop (Canada)

Forces of Corruption & Collusion (Irl.)

Postpone Children’s Charter Call (Irl.)

Advertising for CSA Victims (USA)

Diocese Filing for Bankruptcy (USA)

10. Love/Marriage/Sex…

Teenagers Get Sex Ed. from Mags (UK)

Condom Machines in Schools (Brazil)

Marriage ‘An Act of Heroism’ (UK)

Love…as Ancient as Time (Italy)

Media Responsible for Underage Sex (Kenya)

No Divorce Thanks, We’re Catholic (USA)

St Valentines Blessing

‘Give of Each Other to Each Other’ (Irl.)

‘Sex Good, Love Sacred’ (Australia)

Marriage is for Life (Vatican)

Irish? Wedding? Nikako… (1&2)

Free Condom Handout ‘Immoral’ (USA)

RC F***ing Around sans Condoms in NY (USA)

……and that is all I have to offer for now only to advise that with the onset of Lent, I will be posting a daily thought on blogspot and it will be part of a theme for this season entitled ‘A Journey of Reflection’

I sincerely hope you will be able join me for it and in case you think it will not be possible locate it on the blogspot, it will be indicated with the following picture to highlight its position….

February despite it being a somewhat quiet month in many places and in different ways was nonetheless a busy one in so many ways, and the main headlines to begin with for the month were of the Italian bishops protesting strongly against the Italian Government's decision to grant same sex couples legal recognition.

Within a matter of days however, they were called to focus their minds on 2 other issues which came to light namely that the clergy both in Italy and universally were not giving what the Vatican considered due deference to the Vatican and the Pope.

That was the least of their worries when it became known that a journalist had gone to different clergy in different parishes and under the confessional was given different advice by the majority on moral issues which should have been more consistent with Church teaching.

A few light moments were there also in the shape of the tax avoiding nuns on the run in Greece and then the pictures of Il Papa which portray him in almost pin up mode (God help us all).

Back to the serious stuff again when the true knowledge of the levels of religious illiteracy became known whilst the situations with China and Millingo rumbled on and Vietnam began to strengthen its diplomatic ties with the Vatican.

The 1st gay couple wed in Mexico and then back to the UK where the Cardinal (O'Connor Murphy) showed his true colours (pink not being one of them) when he attempted to use the pulpit to blackmail the Government into reneging on proposed legislation which would outlaw discrimination in relation to adoptions by same sex couples.

Not even out of that particular minefield, a claim was made by the RC in the UK that not all of the Bible was credible and factual but this was overshadowed then when a report was issued which criticised the RC run schools which were found to be overtly tolerant of homophobic bullying on their premises which was vehemently challenged by the hierarchy but later accepted as 'perhaps unacceptably true' - so in other words guilty as charged!!

Portugal went to the polls in relation to abortion and despite the narrowest of margins, it was carried through by the prime minister and president and thus enacted as legislation. Over in the late Pope John Paul II's homeland of Poland, a mini-clerical survey found that the vast majority of priests expressed their wish to be able to get married whilst down in Uruguay the laity were not only actively attending church but were proving that the laity are indeed the church.

The euthanasia debate rumbled on not just in Europe but indeed right around the world, whilst Brazil was now introducing condoms in their schools and France was using the Latin Mass in some dioceses. CSA files in the USA were to be released and the Pope due to issue letter to the Chinese Church at Easter, whilst a cathedral was opened in on China mainland.

Nuns admitted there was rife racism in some religious orders, whilst ordinations took place in Iraq and the Diocese of Ossory here in Ireland was circulating names on its terna list for a new bishop.

Northern Ireland was declared to be the most homophobic country in western world (Vatican must have been left out of that study!!) whilst Il Papa was writing his new book on Christ (hopefully more Christian than Il Papa himself) and an Austrian bishop threatened excommunication!!

The Archdiocese of Westminster started an outreach programme to the gay community (did the Cardinal know?) and Italy approved of gay union bill in parliament and Ireland was at the centre of an international porn ring and the failure of the police force there to act on important information.

Vatican gay witch hunt began in America whilst Il Papa again considered the Latin Mass as a possible solution to declining numbers in all areas of the Church and Cardinal Bertone was tipped to succeed Benedict XVI.

Nuns were ordered from convent by order of Vatican in Poland; America re-visited its abortion laws and child abusers in Ireland escaped the wrath of the law. The Nazi history of Ireland was also thrown into the public domain leaving a few red faces but no Government action (surprise surprise) and Cardinal Emeritus Connell was to meet Child Abuse Commission (should have been interesting) and Vatican stated there was a slight rise in numbers of clergy worldwide.

Nepal got its 1st Catholic bishop, homosexuality in the bible was discussed, Orthodox Church in Ukraine is split, Il Papa issued Lenten Message 2007 and Archbishop Millingo is not named in the Annuario Pontificio.

Poland still embroiled over actions of clergy under old Communist rule who engaged with the secret police and spied on colleagues, new Presbyterian moderator appointed in Ireland, Il Papa slammed by Dignitas in German media, and a warning that Fundamentalism is slowly creeping into the RC Church.

Disney prevents a staging of Sister Act in Ireland, RC Church in Slovakia reviews its history, same sex rights under attack in France, RC Church in crisis in Czech Republic, clerical imbalances in Europe and Africa, gay rights in Anglican church is almost schismatic and Vatican acknowledges role of women whilst still denying them ordination.

RC set to become dominant faith in UK, child marriage banned by RC Church in India, Australian bishops object to Easter Sunday trading whilst their counterparts in Portugal come out against the abortion vote in favour of providing such a service.

Church and State law clash in USA, Poland still rumbles on with its past, Scottish RC bishops threaten to defy law, Irish wedding couples not welcome in either Croatia or Florence with no doubt others to follow, and Irish president meets Il Papa.

Slavery, temperance from alcohol, changing of faith, sex and celibacy are also in there.

Collusion between Church and State in Ireland is highlighted yet again, free condom handout in NYC, 80% in favour of same sex rights in Italy (Vatican dismayed) and new Canon Lawyer to the Pope appointed.

Cardinal Zen stirring trouble in China (again), defection guidelines published by Vatican, clerical financial improprities in USA, celibacy discussed again and Italian politicians tell Vatican to basically f**k off only for Il Papa to come back with his own response (expletives definitely removed for that one!!).

UN under attack by Vatican, whilst also covering up more Child Sex Abuse cases, and the lead in to Lent 2007 begins...

Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly in Ireland in the legal docks for also trying to abdicate its responsibilities, and in UK a gay mass is celebrated (with blessing of Cardinal), and rumours of KGB attempts to smear Pius XII.

Laity and hierarchy not in agreement on many many issues, dioceses in USA filing for bankruptcy, Anglican and RC churches aim to unite (later denied), Italian parliament warns Vatican about opposition to same sex rights, RC Church in Czech Republic worried at opening of secret police files, Malta new bishop speaks contrary to Vatican teachings, and then we lead into Lent and the remainder of the month of March........

Niwano Peace Prize in 2007 (Universal)

A Buddhist nun who started the Taiwan-based Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation is to be awarded the 24th Niwano Peace Prize, the Japan-based Niwano Peace Foundation has announced.

It said on 27 February the prize was going to Dharma Master (Buddhist teacher) Cheng Yen for her efforts to "put traditional Buddhist teachings and spirit into the practice of helping the poor in a contemporary context".

The Niwano Peace Foundation was chartered in 1978 to promote a culture of peace. Some of its leaders have referred to their prize as the Nobel Peace Prize of the faith-based community.

Cheng Yen was born in 1937 and set up Tzu Chi in 1966 at Pu Ming Temple on the east coast of Taiwan. It now provides relief and medical services in various parts of the world. "Starting with just 30 members, Tzu Chi has now recruited millions of volunteers in 231 offices in 40 countries," the Niwano group stated. "

Every day, close to 100 000 volunteers carry out the Master's teaching to help the poor and spread compassion to every dark corner of the world." Cheng Yen "comes from a pietistic traditional Buddhist background, but she was not satisfied with traditional teachings and practices, especially with Buddhist receptivity to enduring suffering in life", the Niwano foundation noted. "

In general, Buddhism tends to focus on meditative states of mind, neglecting the importance of change in the secular world. But, Master Cheng Yen felt the necessity for assisting the poor who were suffering both from medical and economic difficulties." This led to her mission of making "Western medicine" and medical facilities available to people in poverty. "

The ideas and compassion of Master Cheng Yen and the work of the Tzu Chi Foundation make a great contribution toward world peace," said the Niwano foundation. The presentation ceremony of the Niwano Peace Prize will take place in Tokyo on 10 May.

In addition to the award certificate, Master Cheng Yen will receive a medal and 20 million yen (US$168 420).

Previous winners include the Rev. Philip Potter, former general secretary of the World Council of Churches; the Community of Sant'Egidio, a Roman Catholic lay association based in Rome; the World Muslim Congress; and the Corrymeela Community in Northern Ireland.


No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

The World That Prays Together.....(Universal)

In the heart of South America, Paraguayan women weave intricate lace embroideries called Nanduit, which means “spider web.”

But the beautiful creations belie the horrible reality the women face every day.

Nearly one in 15 women will be raped in Paraguay, where sexual and domestic abuse of women is a widespread and under-reported problem.

But they are not alone.

Their suffering is recognized today by Catholic women around the world.

The women will unite Friday to observe the annual World Day of Prayer.

Services will be held in churches on both sides of the river in Kamloops.

The theme for this year’s global service was prepared by the women of Paraguay, where 90 per cent of the population is Catholic.

The theme, United Under God’s Tent, is a reference to the story of Abraham, who spoke of building tents to show humanity is united under God.

In a service at the Sacred Heart Cathedral downtown, the program will include a portion where three girls enter the church representing the three tents built by Abraham.

A large painting by local artist Diane Bower, depicting the crafts of Paraguayan women, will be on display at the pulpit.

Betty Kuntz, a parishioner of the Sacred Heart Cathedral, said people around the world unite today to promote justice, equality and unity.

“The World Day of Prayer is a non-denominational gathering of churches to celebrate God,” Kuntz said.

“We invite people of all religions, all faiths to come and enjoy this program.”

Father Derrick Cameron of the Sacred Heart Cathedral said prayer offers people an alternative to violent, desperate means to voice concerns.

People will unite in prayer globally in silent protest of the treatment of Paraguayan women, he said.

“We’ll pray for them.”

Kuntz said people around the world will unite to contemplate the poverty and depression of the Paraguayan women.

“They have been used and abused by the men,” she said.

“This is one of the reasons the women in the have [developed] countries want to help women in the underdeveloped parts of the world.”

Despite their hardships, Paraguayan women enjoy the music of their nation and continue to weave the Nanduit, which has deeply religious undertones.

The women use one string to weave their lace creations, which indicates the string of God’s love is never broken.

The string is woven into circular patterns that culminate in the centre, representative of humanity coming together under one tent.

“We are all together,” Kuntz said. “We are all united under God.”



No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

KGB -v- Pius XII (Bucharest)

Historians and communist-era diplomats have cast doubts on a former Romanian general's claim that he helped with a KGB plot to portray Pope Pius XII as a Nazi sympathizer in order to weaken the Catholic Church.

Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, a Romanian intelligence chief under dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, said that between 1960 and 1962 he recruited three Romanian spies to disguise themselves as priests and gain access to the Vatican Secret Archives.

Their objective was to steal documents for the KGB, the former Russian secret police and intelligence agency, so the documents could be manipulated as evidence against Pope Pius, who died in 1958, said Pacepa.

Pacepa, who defected to the United States in 1978, said these documents also contributed to a devastating anti-Pope Pius play, "The Deputy," which opened in Berlin in 1963.

He said a KGB chief of disinformation created an outline for the first draft of "The Deputy," which helped popularize the notion that Pope Pius supported Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler.

His claims were included in an article, "Moscow's Assault on the Vatican," posted in late January on the National Review Online.



No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Dioceses of Ireland - Galway, Kilmacduagh & Kilfenora



No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Pointers For Parishoners Whose Priest Has Been Accused (Universal)

1) Remain open-minded. The natural human instinct is to recoil from alleged horror, and to immediately assume that the allegations are false. But the overwhelming majority of abuse disclosures prove to be true.In every case, the proper and Christian response is to remain open-minded.

2) Pray for all parties involved. Every person involved deserves and needs prayerful support.

3) Let yourself feel whatever emotions arise. You may feel angry, betrayed, confused, hurt, worried and sad. These are all natural, "typical" responses to an allegation of sexual abuse. None of these feelings are inappropriate or "bad." Don't "kick yourself" for feeling any of these emotions.

4) Remember that abuse, sadly, is quite common. It's far more widespread than any of us would like to believe. Experts estimate that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 9 boys will be molested in their lifetimes.

5) Don't try to "guess" or figure out who the accuser is. Abuse victims, like rape victims, need their privacy to recover from their trauma. Openly speculating about who is alleging abuse is essentially gossiping, and helps to create a hostile climate that will keep other victims (even those abused by non-clerical perpetrators) from coming forward.

6) If you do know the victim(s), protect his/her confidentiality. There are many good reasons why abuse victims are unable to publicly come forward. Often, the person wants to keep his/her elderly parents or young children from suffering too. Don't compound the pain he/she is in by disclosing his/her identity to others.

7) Understand that abuse victims often have "troubled" backgrounds (i.e. drug or alcohol problems, criminal backgrounds, etc.) Instead of undermining the credibility of accusers, these difficulties actually enhance their credibility.

(When someone is physically hurt, there are almost always clear signs of harm; so too with sexual abuse. The harm is reflected largely in self-destructive behaviors. One might be skeptical of a person who claimed to have been run over by a truck but showed no bodily injury. Similarly, one might be skeptical of an alleged molestation victim who always acted like a "model citizen.")

8) Don't allow the mere passage of time to discredit the accusers. Stress to your fellow parishioners that there are many good reasons why abuse victims disclose their victimization years after the crime.

In most instances, victims come forward when they are emotionally able to do so, and feel capable of risking disbelief and rejection from precious loved ones, including family members, church leaders, other authorities, and fellow Catholics.

Sometimes, they are psychologically able to do so only after their perpetrator has died, moved or been accused by someone else. Sometimes, they have been assured that their perpetrator would never be around kids again, but have learned that this isn't the case.

(In other cases, it takes years before victims are able to understand and/or acknowledge to themselves that they have been sexually violated. This is a common defense mechanism.)

9) Ask your family members and friends if they were victimized. Many times, abuse victims will continue to "keep the secret" unless specifically invited to disclose their victimization by someone they love and trust.

Even raising this topic can be very uncomfortable. But it must be done. It may be very awkward and your family members may even act resentful at first. But soon they will remember that you really care about them, and will see your question as a sign of that care.

10) Mention the accusation to former parishioners and parish staff now living elsewhere.They may have information that could prove the guilt or innocence of the priest facing allegations.

This is especially important because sometimes abuse victims or their families move away after experiencing abuse.

11) Contact the police or prosecutors. It's your duty as a citizen to call the proper civil authorities if you have any information (even if it's "second hand" or vague) that might help prove the guilt or innocence of the accused. It's your duty as a Christian to help seek justice and protect others from harm.

Remember: abuse thrives in secrecy. Exposing a physical wound to fresh air, clean water and sunlight can be healing. Exposing sexual crimes is also ultimately healing. And remember that police and prosecutors are unbiased professionals with the skills and experience needed to ascertain whether an allegation is true or false.

12) Don't allow other parishioners to make disparaging comments about those making the allegation. Remember, the sexual abuse of children has terribly damaging effects. As a Christian, you want to help prevent such victimization. And you want anyone who is in pain to get help as soon as possible.

Critical comments about those who make allegations only discourage others who may have been hurt. Such remarks prevent those who need help from reaching out and getting it. Show your compassion for abuse victims. Tell your fellow parishioners that hurtful comments are inappropriate.

Remind them that they can defend their priest without attacking his accuser.

13) Educate yourself and your family about sexual abuse. There are many excellent books and resources on the subject. There are also good books specifically about molestation by clerics (Jason Berry's Lead Us Not Into Temptation, Frank Bruni & Elinor Burkett's Gospel of Shame, and the Boston Globe's Betrayal).

14) Support the accused priest PRIVATELY. Calls, visits, letters, gifts, and prayers - all of these are appropriate ways to express your love and concern for the accused priest. Public displays of support, however, are not. They only intimidate others into keeping silent. In fact, it is terribly hurtful to victims to see parishioners openly rallying behind an accused priest. You may want to publicly defend a priest, collect funds for the priest's defense, and take similar steps. Please don't.

Express your appreciation of the priest in a direct, quiet ways. Even if the priest is innocent, somewhere in the parish is a young girl being molested by a relative or a boy being abused by his coach or youth leader.

If these children see adults they love and respect publicly rallying around accused perpetrators, they will be less likely to report their own victimization to their parents, the police, or other authorities. They will be scared into remaining silent, and their horrific pain will continue.

15) Don't be blinded by the pain you can see. The trauma of the accused priest, and those who care about him, is obvious. You can usually see it in his face, his posture, and his actions.

But please try to keep in mind the trauma of the accuser too. Because you rarely see his/her pain directly, it's important to try and imagine it. This helps you keep a balanced perspective.

16) Try to put yourself in the shoes of the alleged victim. It's easy to identify with the priest.

Most Catholics have met dozens of priests and know them as warm and wonderful individuals.

On the other hand, few Catholics have met clergy abuse survivors. In the gospels, Jesus calls us to identify with the hurting, the vulnerable, and the innocent, the hurting.

Try, as best you can, to imagine the shame, self-blame, confusion and fear that afflict men and women who have been victimized by trusted religious authority figures.

17) Use this painful time as an opportunity to protect your own family. Talk with your children about "safe touch," the private parts of their bodies, who is allowed to touch those parts, what to do if someone else tries, and who to tell.

Urge your sons and daughters to have similar conversations with your grandchildren.

18) Turn your pain into helpful action. In times of stress and trauma, doing something constructive can be very beneficial. Volunteer your time or donate your funds to organizations that help abused kids or work to stop molestation.

19) Keep in mind the fundamental choice you face. On the one hand, at stake are the FEELINGS of a grown up. On the other hand, at stake is the PHYSICAL, EMOTIONAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL, SPIRITUAL AND SEXUAL SAFETY of potentially many children.

If one has to err in either direction, the prudent and moral choice is to always err on the side of protecting those who can't protect themselves: children.

Remember too that it's easier for an adult to repair his reputation than for a child (or many children) to repair his/her psyche and life. Another way to look at this: Being falsely accused of abuse is horrific. But actually being abused, then being attacked or disbelieved is far worse.

20) Ask your pastor to bring in an outside expert or a therapist who can lead a balanced discussion about sexual abuse.

Therapists understand and can answer the questions you and your fellow parishioners are facing, and help you deal with the emotional impact of this trauma too.

21) Urge your bishop, pastor and other diocesan or parish employees to follow these guidelines too.



No responsibility or liability shall attach itself to either myself or to the blogspot ‘Clerical Whispers’ for any or all of the articles placed here.

The placing of an article hereupon does not necessarily imply that I agree or accept the contents of the article as being necessarily factual in theology, dogma or otherwise.

Sotto Voce

Call For Justice For Rape Victims (India)

Thousands of people including the Catholic Church leader in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand have demanded exemplary punishment for men who raped 13 tribal women.

The unmarried tribal women aged 16-20 reportedly were assaulted on Feb. 21 in Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh state, where they worked in a brick kiln.

Local news reports said that around midnight, at least 18 armed men entered a makeshift house for women workers. The men molested and raped migrant workers from Jharkhand's Ranchi and neighboring Lohardaga districts.

As news of the incident spread, tribal organizations in Jharkhand called for protests.

Thousands of tribal people responded, shouting slogans as they marched on Feb. 24 through Ranchi, the state capital, 1,160 kilometers (about 720 miles) southeast of New Delhi, and Lohardaga town.

Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo of Ranchi said in a Feb. 23 press release that perpetrators of rape should be given exemplary punishment and victims should receive "justice at all cost."

The incident proves that women of "dalit and tribal societies are not safe in the country even in the 21st century," Asia's first tribal cardinal wrote. It "also proves how the so-called higher-caste people see" people belonging to dalit and tribal communities, he said.

“Dalit” is a Sanskrit term meaning "trampled upon" and is used to denote people at the bottom of the traditional Indian caste system who formerly were called "untouchable."

Cardinal Toppo described rape as "the most heinous crime against humanity" in comments for UCA News. "Whether the victim is tribal or non-tribal, one could not find enough words to condemn whoever commits it."

The protesters demanded that the Jharkhand state government "act immediately" to ensure that the culprits and kiln owners are charged and prosecuted. They also demanded a federal inquiry and compensation to the victims.

"Our poor sisters go to work in the brick kilns of Uttar Pradesh to support their families, not to lose their modesty," Neelam Baxla, a Catholic college girl who led the protest rally in Ranchi, told UCA News.

Some young people at the protest rally held their state government responsible for the situation in which poverty compels tribal women to migrate outside the state to make a living.

Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar state in 2000 for the declared purpose of augmenting tribal advancement, but its leaders have "failed to guarantee" adequate employment opportunities for tribal people, charged Michael Ekka, a college student.

Dayamani Barla, a tribal women leader, went further in asserting that "the governments did nothing for the betterment of tribal people" in the six years since the state's formation and "only exploited them further."

According to Barla, hundreds of migrant tribal women "eke out a livelihood" in several Indian states, facing physical and sexual violence. "So many tribal girls who have gone out for work, are missing too," she told UCA News.

Cardinal Toppo agrees that the state has not done enough "to provide social security and eradicate poverty of our villages, which forces people to migrate as laborers."

The kiln rape case puts the situation in stark relief, he said. "This incident is an eye opener for the people and government of Jharkhand. We have to work for the poor joining hands."

Reacting to the demands of various political parties as well as church and social organizations, Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda said he has asked officials to provide a detailed report about the incident.

Koda told UCA News on Feb. 24 that the crime would be probed with the help of the Uttar Pradesh government "to ensure safe return of the girls and maximum punishment to the culprits."



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Canadian Bishops Gassing (Canada)

Canada’s Catholic bishops are urging foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay to regulate the activities of the nation’s mining and oil and gas industries operating overseas.

In a Feb. 12 letter, Gatineau Archbishop Roger Ébacher, writing on behalf of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (CCCB) social affairs commission, quoted Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, who has asked that the present voluntary rules for corporate social responsibility be complemented by regulations from both the state and national organizations.

“It is, as you know, a foundational principle of international law that human rights are in no sense voluntary; the protection of human rights is in no sense optional,” Archbishop Ebacher wrote. “The mandatory nature of human rights must continue to be a cornerstone of Canada’s presence in the world, and it must govern the actions of Canadian corporations worldwide, particularly those engaged in resource extraction.”

Archbishop Ebacher wrote the letter as the National Roundtables on Corporate Social Responsibility are drawing to a close. This series of four discussions, held in different Canadian cities, invited participation from industry, government, human-rights and development organizations, environmental organizations and indigenous groups.

“Canada cannot be a leavening agent globally for democratization, for human rights and the rule of law while at the same time – through our tax policies and other public benefits, through our regulatory frameworks – supporting Canadian business practices that are complicit in the erosion of democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” he wrote.

Archbishop Ébacher suggested allowing tax benefits only to shareholders of companies that have a verifiable record of sound practices in accordance with Canada’s democratic values while operating outside the country. He noted some countries might object to this as a violation of their sovereign right to make their own deals with mining companies.

“This argument is deficient, because no state has the authority to abrogate human dignity,” he wrote.

“It is clear, from the standpoint of Catholic social doctrine, that sound economics cannot be separated from the demands of justice,” he wrote. “To be clear, social justice should be an enabling feature of economic activity, allowing it to flourish and provide the goods necessary for the service of our God-given human dignity.”

The archbishop also congratulated MacKay and his foreign affairs department for conducting the “roundtable” discussions.

The Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace made a similar call for regulations when the roundtable discussions kicked off in Vancouver last June.
“Canadian extractive companies, including mining, oil and gas, have been implicated in well-documented cases of human rights violations and environmental disasters abroad,” said a June 13, 2006, Development and Peace news release.

“These violations by Canadian companies include toxic dumping, the destruction of protected areas, forcible displacement of indigenous peoples, and threats and intimidation of local communities.”

“This is not a case of a few bad apples: Canadian extractive companies have been implicated in human rights abuses and environmental disasters in more than 30 countries,” said the release.

The CCCB created Development and Peace 40 years ago as their overseas development agency.



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Archbishop Wants Division In Education (Éire)

DUBLIN, Ireland (AP) - Archbishop Sean Brady, leader of Ireland's 4 million Roman Catholics, defended the need Wednesday for a separate school system for Catholics in Northern Ireland, an issue long debated in the divided British territory.

Brady, in a statement issued to coincide with Catholic Schools Week in Northern Ireland, rejected the argument that sending Catholics and Protestants to segregated schools encouraged social divisions and sowed the seeds for conflict.

The future of Northern Ireland's rival school systems is a top talking point in Northern Ireland, particularly in rural communities with declining student populations.

The British government is pressing both the state-controlled, overwhelmingly Protestant schools and the Catholic schools to share facilities, or even merge, in areas where they cannot justify funding rival schools with half-full classrooms.

For decades, social scientists have argued that one of the most logical ways to mend the traditional hostility between British Protestants and Irish Catholics would be to start with the next generation — and, for the first time, put them daily in the same classrooms.

But Brady, whose church is also deeply embedded in the school system in the neighboring Republic of Ireland, dismissed such views as shallow.

"It is time to end the facile argument that church-based schools are divisive. Commitment to tolerance, justice and the common good is at the very heart of the Catholic vision of education," he said.

Brady also cited the well-documented fact that the Catholic schools in Northern Ireland do better academically than the predominantly Protestant state schools, producing higher test scores and more university-eligible students.

"Those who send their children to Catholic schools have no need to apologize for making that choice. They have a right to a faith-based education for their children," he said.

Since the mid-19th century, Catholic Church leaders have made control of education in Ireland — and, following partition of the island in 1921, Northern Ireland — a key demand in talks with both the British and Irish governments.

North of the border, they have criticized the arguments of the Northern Ireland Council for Integrated Education, which since the 1980s has developed about 50 schools that deliberately mix Protestant, Catholic and other children.

Less than 5 percent of the approximately 200,000 students in Northern Ireland, a territory of 1.7 million, attend deliberately integrated schools.

These schools encourage students to discuss their political and religious differences and also to play the sports associated with both sides of the community: Gaelic football and hurling on the Catholic side, rugby and soccer on the Protestant side.



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Fr of Liberation Theology Receives Ashes From Il Papa (Vatican)

When Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass this year on Ash Wednesday, among those he placed ashes on was Father Gustavo Gutierrez, considered the father of liberation theology.

Father Gutierrez, a Dominican theologian from Peru, was in Rome to teach a brief course at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, also known as the Angelicum.

On Feb. 21, Father Gutierrez gathered with several hundred faithful in the Basilica of Santa Sabina, where the pope was opening the Lenten season. Midway through the liturgy, Father Gutierrez was among a small group who went individually in front of the pontiff for the imposition of ashes on their heads.

Father Gutierrez's 1971 book, "A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation," presented his concept of the connection between social and political liberation and liberation from sin.As prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the current pope -- then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- helped guide a lengthy critical review of Father Gutierrez's work.

During the 1990s, Father Gutierrez was asked to write and rewrite articles clarifying some of his theological and pastoral points.In 2004, the doctrinal congregation expressed approval of Father Gutierrez's latest article on ecclesial communion, and it was published in the Angelicum university's scholarly review.

Father Gutierrez told Catholic News Service that his problems with the church's teaching authority, or magisterium, were "completely over" and had been settled some time ago. He said that was clearly demonstrated by the fact that he was teaching in a Rome pontifical university, which he said "is very important and significant for me."He said it was the third time he has taught at the Angelicum.

This time he is teaching a three-week intensive course on the theology and spirituality of Fray Bartolome de las Casas, a Dominican who defended the rights of indigenous people in Latin America shortly after the Spanish conquest.

Although it doesn't enter directly into this course, Father Gutierrez said he still freely expresses his views on liberation theology, because it remains "my way of reflecting on the faith."

Since 2001, Father Gutierrez has been the Cardinal John O'Hara Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana



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Lent 2007 - A Journey Of Reflection

Thursday 1st March

One word about the difficulty at prayer. It is an unnatural thing, and hence must always be hard; for prayer takes us out of our natural element.

But pray on all the same!!



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Welcome To Spring (Universal)

March 1st is symbolically seen as the first day of spring, and this would be the case in the meteorological world, but it also brings a sense of an end to the dreariness and darkness of the winter season.

Symbolic of the spring season is the arrival of the daffodils which bring their own sense of life, fertility and new beginnings as we prepare for the longer days of sunshine (or rain!) and the lessening of the darkness.

God, thank you for the beautiful season of spring.
Please help the flowers and everything grow.
Please help us renew our own spirit and help others live out their full potential.
Spring is a glorious season.


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St David Patron Saint of Wales (Feastday)


Bishop and Confessor, patron of Wales. He is usually represented standing on a little hill, with a dove on his shoulder.
From time immemorial the Welsh have worn a leek on St. David's day, in memory of a battle against the Saxons, at which it is said they wore leeks in their hats, by St. David's advice, to distinguish them from their enemies.
He is commemorated on 1 March.
The earliest mention of St. David is found in a tenth-century manuscript Of the "Annales Cambriae", which assigns his death to A.D. 601. Many other writers, from Geoffrey of Monmouth down to Father Richard Stanton, hold that he died about 544, but their opinion is based solely on data given in various late "lives" of St. David, and there seems no good reason for setting aside the definite statement of the "Annales Cambriae", which is now generally accepted.
Little else that can claim to be historical is known about St. David. The tradition that he was born at Henvynyw (Vetus-Menevia) in Cardiganshire is not improbable. He was prominent at the Synod of Brevi (Llandewi Brefi in Cardiganshire), which has been identified with the important Roman military station, Loventium.
Shortly afterwards, in 569, he presided over another synod held at a place called Lucus Victoriae. He was Bishop (probably not Archbishop) of Menevia, the Roman port Menapia in Pembrokeshire, later known as St. David's, then the chief point of departure for Ireland. St. David was canonized by Pope Callistus II in the year 1120.

This is all that is known to history about the patron of Wales. His legend, however, is much more elaborate, and entirely unreliable. The first biography that has come down to us was written near the end of the eleventh century, about 500 years after the saint's death, by Rhygyfarch (Ricemarchus), a son of the then bishop of St. David's, and is chiefly a tissue of inventions intended to support the claim of the Welsh episcopate to be independent of Canterbury.
Giraldus Cambriensis, William of Malmesbury, Geoffrey of Monmouth, John de Tinmouth, and John Capgrave all simply copy and enlarge upon the work of Rhygyfarch, whilst the anonymous author of the late Welsh life printed in Rees, "Cambro-British Saints" (Cott. MS. Titus, D. XXII) adds nothing of value. According to these writers St. David was the son of Sant or Sandde ab Ceredig ab Cunnedda, Prince of Keretica (Cardiganshire) and said by some to be King Arthur's nephew, though Geoffrey of Monmouth calls St. David King Arthur's uncle.
The saint's mother was Nonna, or Nonnita (sometimes called Melaria), a daughter of Gynyr of Caergawch. She was a nun who had been violated by Sant. St. David's birth had been foretold thirty years before by an angel to St. Patrick. It took place at "Old Menevia" somewhere about A.D. 454. Prodigies preceded and accompanied the event, and at his baptism at Porth Clais by St. Elvis of Munster, "whom Divine Providence brought over from Ireland at that conjuncture", a blind man was cured by the baptismal water.
St. David's early education was received from St. Illtyd at Caerworgorn (Llantwit major) in Glamorganshire. Afterwards he spent ten years studying the Holy Scriptures at Whitland in Carmarthenshire, under St. Paulinus, (Pawl Hen), whom he cured of blindness by the sign of the cross. At the end of this period St. Paulinus, warned by an angel, sent out the young saint to evangelize the British. St. David journeyed throughout the West, founding or restoring twelve monasteries (among which occur the great names of Glastonbury, Bath, and Leominster), and finally settled in the Vale of Ross, where he and his monks lived a life of extreme austerity.
Here occurred the temptations of his monks by the obscene antics of the maid-servants of the wife of Boia, a local chieftan. Here also his monks tried to poison him, but St. David, warned by St. Scuthyn, who crossed from Ireland in one night on the back of a sea-monster, blessed the poisoned bread and ate it without harm. From thence, with St. Teilo and St. Padarn, he set out for Jerusalem, where he was made bishop by the patriarch.
Here too St. Dubric and St. Daniel found him, when they came to call him to the Synod of Brevi "against the Pelagians". St. David was with difficulty persuaded to accompany them; on his way he raised a widow's son to life, and at the synod preached so loudly, from the hill that miraculously rose under him, that all could hear him, and so eloquently that all the heretics were confounded.
St. Dubric resigned the "Archbishopric of Caerleon", and St. David was appointed in his stead.
One of his first acts was to hold, in the year 569, yet another synod called "Victory", against the Pelagians, of which the decrees were confirmed by the pope. With the permission of King Arthur he removed his see from Caerleon to Menevia, whence he governed the British Church for many years with great holiness and wisdom. He died at the great age of 147, on the day predicted by himself a week earlier. His body is said to have been translated to Glastonbury in the year 966.

It is impossible to discover in this story how much, if any, is true. Some of it has obviously been invented for controversial purposes. The twelve monasteries, the temptation by the women, the attempt on his life, all suggest an imitation of the life of St. Benedict.
Wilder legends, such as the Journey on the Sea-Monster, are commonplaces of Celtic hagiography.
Doubtless Rhygyfarch and his imitators collected many floating local traditions, but how much of these had any historical foundation and how much was sheer imagination is no longer possible to decide.

Almighty God, who called your servant David
to be a faithful and wise steward of your mysteries for the people of Wales:
Mercifully grant that, following his purity of life and zeal for the gospel of Christ,
we may with him receive the crown of everlasting life;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and ever.


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Vatican Going Chinese(?) (Vatican)

The Vatican web site will soon make some Church documents available in Chinese.

Archbishop Claudio Celli-- the secretary of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Holy See, which is responsible for the busy Vatican web site-- has revealed the plans to translate important material, including papal statements and homilies, into Chinese.

The Vatican web site currently provides services for readers in German, Spanish, English, French, and Portuguese as well as Italian.

Vatican Website:


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Diocese Dodges Liability In CSA...For Now!! (USA)

The Diocese of San Diego, California, has filed for bankruptcy protection, becoming the 5th and largest American diocese to choose that option.

The bankruptcy petition was filed late on Tuesday night, February 27.

The filing will effectively halt proceedings in the 150 sex-abuse lawsuits that have been brought against the diocese. The first of those cases had been scheduled to come to trial the following day: February 28.

In announcing the bankruptcy filing, Bishop Robert Brom said that the step was necessary in order to ensure that all victims would be compensated. After plaintiffs’ lawyers rejected a blanket offer from the diocese, the bishop explained that if the cases all went to trial, “early trial judgments in favor of some victims could so deplete diocesan and insurance resources that there would be nothing left for other victims.”

Lawyers for the alleged victims criticized the bankruptcy filing, complaining that the diocese was attempting to dodge its legal responsibilities and prevent full disclosure of the facts surrounding the sex-abuse claims.

In its bankruptcy petition, the San Diego diocese listed total assets of $100 million and liabilities of the same amount. The petition, filed under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy law, will allow the diocese to restructure its financial affairs, giving a federal court authority to supervise expenditures, and raising delicate questions about Church-state relations.

The San Diego diocese followed the sees of Tucson, Arizona; Portland, Oregon; Spokane, Washington; and Davenport, Iowa in seeking bankruptcy protection.

The Tucson diocese, which filed bankruptcy in 2004, has completed the process and emerged from bankruptcy.

In the Portland and Spokane cases-- both also entered in 2004-- Church officials are waiting for court approval of settlements with creditors.

The Davenport case was only begun last October.

San Diego diocesan officials said that they had sought to avoid bankruptcy with a last settlement offer to victims, which a spokesman described as “the highest offer any diocese has made, in terms of absolute dollars.”

Although the terms of the San Diego offer were not disclosed, the nearby Orange, California diocese had settlement victims’ claims in 2004 with a record payment of $100 million.


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Churches Close Down, Vocations Up (Iraq)

A Chaldean Catholic bishop has disclosed that vocations to the priesthood and religious life are increasing in Iraq, even as thousands of the faithful flee the war-torn country.

Bishop Shlemon Warduni (pic'd alongside) an auxiliary on the Chaldean patriarchate of Baghdad, observed that the rise in vocations is a welcome sign of hope in a country where many Christians feel the pressure to emigrate because of the regular daily violence and the sporadic attacks aimed to intimidate the Christian minority.

Many Christian churches in Iraq are regularly empty, the bishop reported. In some parts of the country, the Divine Liturgy has not been celebrated on any regular schedule since Christmas because of the fear of attacks.

Bishop Warduni asked Christians around the world to pray for Iraq particularly during Lent, in solidarity with the suffering faithful there, and for peace and reconciliation in the country.



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John Paul II Beatification Website (Universal)

With only a matter of weeks from the 2nd Aniversary of the passing of the beloved John Paul II, the cause for his beatification has taken a new turn with the upping of the ante by the Vicariate Of Rome which has responsibility for this process.

As part of the process, relics of the late Pontiffs white cassocks are available FREE OF CHARGE by writing to the following address:

Postulazione Giovanni Paolo II, Vicariato di Roma, Piazza San Giovanni in Laterano 6A, 00184 Rome, Italy.

...or by email to:

The website for the Cause of the Beatification of the late Pontiff is:



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Parent CSA Pointers Please Note!!!

1. Let children talk. Let them tell what happened and just listen.

2. Avoid displays of shock or disgust. An adult abuser may have told the child that nobody will believe him or her. An emotional or otherwise uncontrolled response by the person the child trusts with the story may shut down the child's willingness to communicate.

3. Respect the child's privacy. Find a private place to listen to the report and write down what happened – names, dates, times and locations.This will spare children from extensive questioning later on, which can make a child feel as if trusted adults do not believe the child's report.

4. Address the child's feelings and let him or her know that you trust the child and that the story will be investigated. When a child overcomes that fear and is willing to talk, it is critical to trust the child and to treat the child's story as if it is completely true.

5. Be honest with the child about what will happen next. Tell the child that the incident will be reported to the proper authorities and only with those people who need to know to help keep the child safe.

6. Do not scold the child. This is not the time to express anger and punish a child for having gone somewhere with a stranger or for having kept a secret. Such a reaction may confirm the child's fears about reporting and may stop the child from trusting his or her parents or other safe adults in the future.

7. Get immediate medical attention if necessary. Contact local medical professionals to determine who is best qualified to examine the child for the physical effects of sexual abuse and to test for sexually transmitted diseases, if necessary.

8. Get counseling or therapy for the child. Get the best professional help available to provide the child and the parents or guardians with the support to deal with the effects of sexual abuse.

9. Don't be surprised or upset if the child reports the incident to someone outside the family.

Children become concerned about a parent's reaction and often seek the advice and support of someone else to get through the initial period of telling an adult about the abuse.

The following links may be of help to you:



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200 Year Sentence For Porn Upheld (USA)

WASHINGTON- The US supreme court yesterday let stand a 200-year prison term for an Arizona man convicted of possessing 20 child pornography images, turning down his appeal that the sentence was excessive or cruel and unusual punishment.

Without any comment, the high court declined to hear the constitutional challenge to the sentence given to Morton Berger, who at the time of his arrest in 2002 was a married, 52-year-old high school teacher with no prior criminal record.

- (Reuters)



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Force Of Corruption - Further Developments (ÉIRE)

A PAEDOPHILE ring groomed and sexually abused a 14-year-old boy after he logged on to a gay internet chat room looking for friends, gardaí believe.

A probationer garda — who first made contact with the boy — has been interviewed under caution by detectives.

Two other men, a lecturer and a truck driver, both with wives and children, have been arrested for allegedly abusing the minor.

Detectives believe these men, both aged in their 40s and living in Dublin city, were the main perpetrators of abuse.

Garda sources last night said they hoped to be in a position to issue a strong recommendation to the Director of Public Prosecutions that charges be brought against them.

Gardaí said it was possible that up to 10 men were involved in either abusing the child, attempting to meet him or grooming him.

Sources said there may be further arrests.

“We believe that contact was made over the internet, on a gay website,” said a garda source.

“This boy had questions about his own sexuality and made an anonymous message looking for people with similar interests.

“Following that, a contact was made back. These predators were waiting for an innocent person.”

It is understood that the 21-year-old garda first contacted the boy and may have passed on his details to other people. Another man is believed to have been the first to meet the boy in person and sexually abuse him.

Gardaí believe that information about the boy was passed on within what they said could be described as a paedophile ring.

“These are sinister characters sharing information with each other. There’s a degree of organisation and they operate in secrecy,” said a source.

“When they know a minor is involved in sexual activity they share that information.”

Detectives said the boy was not coerced into performing sexual acts, but stressed that as he is underage, consent did not arise.

“Force was not used, but that’s not an issue under the law as he is a minor. He does not have the authority to consent in law,” said a garda source.

Gardaí said the two men arrested over the weekend were “ordinary guys with families and children”.

One was described as a lecturer, rather than a teacher as reported yesterday. The other suspect is a truck driver.

Gardaí seized computers at their places of work and at home and confiscated their mobile phones.

The garda presented himself voluntarily for interview last Friday. Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy suspended him from duty on Monday.

By Cormac O’Keeffe, Irish Examiner



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'Grooming' Not An Offence In Ireland (Éire)

A MOTHER checks her son's mobile phone. No parent likes snooping on their child or breaching their privacy, but sometimes needs must.

Mum discovers inappropriate messages; the messages lead to the discovery, not of underage drinking or sexual experimentation with his peers, but a child sex ring involving up to 10 men.

And her 14-year-old son is at its centre.

The boy at the centre of the investigation is still attending school. Once he was identified as vulnerable to paedophiles, his name and number were passed on and the other men sought him out.

Lured to be raped by sexual predators, pillars of society no less, the child later tells gardai that the vile acts were consensual.

Barring murder, the sexual violation of a child is a parent's worst nightmare.

That the teenager suffered abuse at the hands of a trainee garda and a school teacher - people who hold positions of authority and respect in our society - only adds to the horror.

According to CARI, the child sexual abuse charity, paedophile rings are becoming more organised and their membership actively seek out organisations and activities that allow them access to children.

Abusers have also embraced the digital age, using the internet to share images, ideas and locations where they can get access to children and children deemed vulnerable; vulnerable minors, such as the one in five children in Ireland affected by sexual abuse, many at the hands of multiple perpetrators.

That is a terrifying statistic and yet only 5pc of child sex abuse cases in Ireland ever get prosecuted.

Now, more than ever, the revelations of a paedophile ring unmasked by a mother's vigilance, underscores the need to press ahead with a referendum to introduce adequate child protection measures.

Since the collapse of Ireland's statutory rape regime in the wake of last year's decision by the Supreme Court in the CC case, Irish children have no effective legal bulwark against abuse. Did they ever?

Even if the Government encounters opposition, not entirely unfounded, regarding the impact of extending children's rights, it must move to safeguard them against sexual predators.

Despite our high levels of child sex abuse, grooming - as distinct from procurement (rarely prosecuted) - is not an offence. If a child perpetrates a sexual act at the request of its abuser - in legal terms, a passive assault - the adult who groomed that child to do so has not committed a crime.

Following the Soham murders five years ago of schoolgirls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman, who were killed by school janitor Ian Huntley, Britain undertook a root and branch review of its child protection regime.

That review, after widespread public consultation, led to the introduction of the 2003 Sexual Offences Act, one of the most comprehensive legal packages to protect children and other vulnerable people from abuse.

The Act closed off a loophole that allowed those accused of child rape to escape proper punishment by arguing that they consented.

It deems any sexual intercourse with a child under 13 as a rape and it is a crime to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity.

In Britain, it is now a crime to meet a child following sexual grooming.

It is a crime to befriend a child on the internet or by other means and meet or intend to meet a child with the intention of abusing them.

The maximum sentence is 10 years' imprisonment.

The Government here is also considering new offences of grooming of children, including a maximum life sentence for people in authority who abuse children under the age of 18.

But it needs to win a divisive referendum first and until it does, countless numbers of children will continue to suffer abuse.



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