Monday, July 31, 2023

CWI : Operation Easpag (15)

CWI : Operation Easpag

We can now advise that the bishop in all of this is in for an eye-opener to say the least...

You, bishop, will be in receipt of some correspondence - 5 A4 size sheets in fact - containing the signed names of those who you have infected with a sexual disease - but yet have ignored over the last few years despite their best efforts to have made contact with you being ignored by you.

You will have until September 1st 2023 to engage with them - in a very meaningful way - or we here in CW will print over 200 pages of evidence we have (well our solicitors have these documents in very safe-keeping) and then you can answer and account for your blatant hypocrisy...

August could be a very long - or short - month yet!!

CWI : Operation Laonia (15)

 CWI : Operation Laonia

Just a quick update for you all...Bishop Fintan 'The Liar' Monahan has not - as of yet - responded in any way, shape or form to the legal correspondence he would have received two weeks ago today.

At least you have another 2 weeks to go Fintan before you do....must be some job trying to write up an investigtion that never took place....

Also, Fintan, what tax is being declared on the church properties the Diocese is currently renting out at market rate, such as the 2 houses in Sixmilebridge?

The newly appointed Fr Nolan is having to slum it in Quin parochial house - for the next 6 months at least - as both church houses in Sixmilebridge are being rented out.

Come 2024 and the tenants in those properties will be out on their ears....

Diocesan Changes 2023 - Galway, Kilmacduagh & Kilfenora (July 2023)

Season of Creation in the Galway Diocese – Eco-Congregation Ireland

“Living active faith communities that provide an enriching spiritual space and a genuine pastoral support for people on the journey of life is our dream. These appointments take place against the backdrop of many current challenges at parish level. Decline in faith practice and vocations to the priesthood mean that the way things have been is not the way they will be in the future. 
As a Diocese we are actively engaging with people and priests to creatively respond to these challenges and to develop a plan to breath new life into our faith communities. In certain areas changes to the service provided by the local priest will inevitably follow. 
One priest simply cannot now do what two or three priests did in the past. I am confident that parishioners will be sympathetic and generous when it comes to such changes.

I pray that with God’s help those taking on these new responsibilities will provide us with wise and dedicated leadership. I wish to thank the priests involved who have been so generous in taking on these roles, especially those who do so in addition to other responsibilities. I pray that they will be happy and fulfilled in their new appointments.

I am conscious that we also owe a debt of gratitude to those Priests who are retiring from positions after a life time of service.  Free from the burden of office, I am sure they will continue to provide invaluable service in many areas throughout the Diocese. 
Thank you for all the work you have done over the years. I wish you health and happiness into the future. Let us pray God’s blessings on the work ahead.” (Bishop Michael Duignan)

Very Rev Msgr Peter Rabbitte PP VG while remaining as Parish Priest of the Cathedral to also become Parish Priest of St Patrick’s Parish replacing Very Rev Patrick Whelan PP (Retiring) (from 30th July 2023)
Very Rev Michael Dean Mc Loughlin to replace Very Rev Gerard Jennings PP (Retiring) as Parish Priest Salthill (from 31st of August 2023)
Very Rev Barry Horan PP while remaining as Parish Priest of Clarinbridge to also become Parish Priest of Craughwell (from 30th June 2023)
Very Rev Martin Whelan to replace Very Rev Michael Dean Mc Loughlin PP as Parish Priest Moycullen (from 31st of August 2023)
Very Rev Kevin Blade MSC to replace Very Rev Tony Horgan MSC as Parish Priest Tirellan (from 1st August 2023)
Is é an tAthair Daniel Gallagher a bhí ina riarthóir ar Pharóiste an Spidéil, atá anois ceaptha ina shagart paróiste ar Pharóiste an Spidéil (ó 31 Lúnasa 2023)
Rev John Gerard Acton, CC while remaining as curate at the Cathedral to replace Very Rev Martin Whelan as Diocesan Secretary and Moderator of the Curia along with acting as Diocesan Master of Ceremonies (from 31st August 2023)
Rev Charlie Sweeney MCS CC, Salthill to become curate Oranmore Parish (from 31st August 2023)
Rev Anastasius Ezennata newly appointed part-time Chaplain to the Bons Secours Hospital, Galway to be curate serving St Patrick’s Parish and the Cathedral Parish. (from 17th August 2023)
Rev Noel Gillespie SMA to be priest available pro tem to the East Galway City Grouping of Parishes (Mervue, Ballybane, Renmore, Castlegar and Doughiska) (from 31st August 2023)
Very Rev Martin Whelan will replace Very Rev Barry Horan as Judicial Vicar at the Galway Regional Marriage Tribunal (from 31st August 2023)
Very Rev Martin Whelan will replace Very Rev Ian O Neil, PP VG as  Diocesan Chancellor (from 31st August 2023)
Very Rev Dr Hugh Clifford PP to replace Very Rev Joe Roche PP as Diocesan Nominee to the Board of Directors, COPE Galway.

Sunday, July 30, 2023

Spiritans face more than 30 legal cases over past alleged child abuse


The Spiritans are facing more than 30 civil cases filed in the High Court over past alleged child sexual abuse in schools run by the religious congregation, which could result in settlement costs running into the millions.

Revelations of child abuse in the Spiritan-run Blackrock College and its junior school Willow Park last November led to a wave of disclosures from other survivors of historical abuse in many fee-paying boarding schools.

In the wake of the scandal the Government commissioned a scoping inquiry earlier this year into the past abuse in day and boarding schools run by religious orders.

The controversy has seen a marked spike in civil cases for compensation being taken in the High Court by alleged abuse survivors, against the Spiritans - also known as the Holy Ghost Fathers - and other religious orders who ran boarding schools.

Court records show 33 legal cases are currently being taken against the Spiritans, the majority of which were filed this year, with a smaller number lodged at the end of last year.

In addition to Blackrock College and Willow Park, where much of the abuse occurred, the Spiritans also run St Michael’s College, St Mary’s College and Templeogue College in Dublin, as well as Rockwell College in Co Tipperary.

Settlements in alleged child sex abuse cases can often run up to six figure sums, while associated legal fees are also costly.

At the outset of the controversy, the Spiritans disclosed it had previously paid out €5 million in abuse claim settlements since 2004, with 12 of those relating to abuse in Blackrock College.

Some 30 legal cases were filed in recent years against the Carmelites, who run Terenure College in south Dublin and previously the Carmelite College Moate, a Co Westmeath fee-paying school that closed in 1996.

The vast majority of the cases were filed between 2020 and 2023 and related to alleged child abuse by John McClean, the former Terenure College teacher and rugby coach. It is understood settlements have already been paid in a number of the legal cases.

McClean is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence over the sexual abuse of more than 40 boys in the secondary school, following convictions in 2021 and 2023.

The Vincentians, who run Castleknock College and St Paul’s College in Dublin, are facing at least two civil claims related to alleged abuse in St Paul’s in Raheny, north Dublin.

The Jesuits are currently facing one legal case filed in the High Court. However, they have set up a separate redress scheme for former students abused by Fr Joseph Marmion in three of its schools.

Marmion, who died in 2000, is believed to have abused dozens of boys at Belvedere College in Dublin, Clongowes Wood College, Co Kildare and Crescent College, Co Limerick.

Overall, the Jesuits previously said they had paid out €7.4 million between 78 settlements over alleged abuse.

The Franciscan Province of Ireland is facing at least one current civil claim related to Fr Ronald Bennett, who was previously convicted of abusing boys in Gormanston College in Co Meath.

The Christian Brothers have refused to provide a nominee to act on behalf of the congregation, meaning legal papers in historic abuse cases must be sent to all brothers from the time who are still alive.

The legal strategy has been strongly criticised by survivors of historical abuse and their legal representatives as obstructive.

Journey to Croagh Patrick summit is really a pilgrimage to the heart (Tony Flannery)

Hiking Croagh Patrick: The Essential Information | Outsider Magazine

FROM the bottom of the mountain, it looks like a muti-coloured snake going all the way to the peak but the thousands of people who made the climb to the top of Croagh Patrick for Reek Sunday did so for reasons as individual as the footprints they leave behind. 

Whether they are motivated by religion, personal petition or merely the physical challenge, the climbers became part of the same tribe for the day, united by a common purpose, sharing snacks, tips and personal stories along the way. 

No matter what happens, they will never forget the day they climbed Croagh Patrick.

To understand why the attraction of this type of pilgrimage remains as strong as ever, we must step back in time to look at the origins of the concept. Going on pilgrimage is as old as Christianity itself, probably much older, and certainly not unique to Christianity. In fact, it is a feature of most of the major religions of the world. 

Christians go on pilgrimage to a whole variety of places, probably most notable being the Holy Land and the Shrine of St James in Compostela in northern Spain, which is now commonly referred to as the Camino. 

Islam believers flock to Mecca in their millions, and the Hindus go to bathe in the sacred river, the Ganges.

In the last two centuries in the Catholic Church the popularity of pilgrimages to places where apparitions of Our Lady are believed to have taken place has grown enormously, so people go in large numbers to Lourdes, Fatima and many other shrines, including Knock. 

Probably the two pilgrim places that have the longest history here in Ireland are both associated with our patron saint, Patrick, the mountain in Co Mayo we call Croagh Patrick, and the island in Co Donegal, Lough Derg, also known as Patrick’s Purgatory.

We also have a multiplicity of holy wells dotted all around the country. Many rural parishes have at least one, and the most popular ones would be associated with a particular feast day involving certain rituals. These usually involve walking around the well a specific number of times, possibly in your bare feet, and reciting certain designated prayers.

Lough Derg, which is the most difficult of Irish pilgrimages, involving fasting and sleep deprivation, has a particular variation on this. Instead of a well it has a series of what are most inappropriately named ‘beds’, which are really circles of rough stone. 

Bare feet are mandatory, and the pilgrim walks around each bed three times on the outside, kneels at the entrance, walks around three times on the inside and finally kneels at the cross in the middle of the ‘bed’ reciting ‘Our ‘Fathers’, ‘Hail Marys’ and the ‘Creed’. 

Having completed the beds the pilgrim then stands with back against a cross on the wall of the church, and with arms outstretched, recites three times “I renounce the world, the flesh and the Devil”.

People go on pilgrimage for different reasons. If we go back through history, particularly to the Middle Ages, the main motivation that sent people on pilgrimage, usually of a much more arduous nature than today, was to do penance for sin, and as such to attain salvation of their souls. The type of god that was commonly preached in church was strict, severe, quick to anger and who had to be placated. 

Hell was presented as a place of endless torture, and a reality for those who committed sin. So, the more difficult the pilgrimage the better, in the sense of doing reparation for the many sins.

In those centuries, pilgrimages were very much part of religious practice, controlled by the Church, with the gaining of indulgences being a primary purpose. 

When the pilgrim reached Compostela, for example, after maybe months, or even years, of journeying, they were given a plenary indulgence, which they were assured would mean that all their sins were forgiven, and they would now have a clean slate. 

Or if they wished to apply the indulgence to someone they loved who had died, that person would be immediately released from purgatory and enter heaven.

Nowadays we are much less likely to think of God in these terms and tend to relate to God as the divine spirit underlying all of creation and the motivations for going on pilgrimage are much more varied. 

Also the Church does not have anything like the same control over the pilgrim, indeed in some cases, the pilgrim might have only a tenuous relationship with the church, if any at all.

There is now a significant distinction being made between institutional religion and spirituality.

For many and varied reasons religious institutions have declined in numbers and influence, while many ways of practicing spirituality have emerged. 

 Some people who walk part of the Camino may do so for a motive that is in no way religious but may well have a more broadly spiritual dimension such as the desire to experience a life that is distant from the day-to-day materialism.

A feature of that pilgrimage, which is also characteristic of Lough Derg and others, is the camaraderie that emerges among the participants, which can often develop into sharing at a deeper level than they would normally do, and that they did not anticipate when they set out. 

It is as if the pilgrimage experience creates a life of its own, a life where the person is more reflective, more tuned into the things that matter, more aware of the blessedness of human existence.

Irrespective of a person’s belief and circumstances, life contains its own pain and hardship, and many people go on pilgrimage with a particular intention, often to do with the health of a family member or someone they love. Even if they do not pray, they believe that the action of the pilgrimage may bring some improvement to the situation that concerns them. 

A person can find a spiritual connection that is in no way related to a church, but that opens new meaning in their lives. The hoped for change may not happen but the person can experience a sense of peace with the outcome.

More and more we now come to believe in a god not remote or judgemental, but is the guiding force of all creation, and of our own lives. Pilgrimages, even small daily ones, give us time and space to discern and come to know this god.

To paraphrase John Main, the teacher of contemplation, the most important pilgrimage of all is the one to our own heart, which is where, if we are patient, we will come to know a mystery that will give meaning to our existence, a mystery that we call god, the divine presence that infuses all created things.

Tony Flannery is a Redemptorist priest and the founder of the Irish Association of Catholic Priests

Peru archdiocese names overseer for women’s branch of scandal-ridden lay group

Sodalitium Christianae Vitae - Wikipedia

As the Vatican’s top investigators are in Peru making inquiries into a troubled lay order, the Archdiocese of Lima has announced the appointment of a temporary administrator of one of the group’s two female branches.

Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Spanish Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu are currently in Lima, Peru, conducting an investigation into the Sodalitium Christinae Vitae (SCV), a society of apostolic life founded by Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari in the 1970s.

Scandals involving the SCV exploded in 2015, when Peruvian journalists Pedro Salinas and Paola Ugaz published their book Half Monks, Half Soldiers detailing years of alleged sexual, physical and psychological abuse by members of the SCV.

Figari himself was accused of physical, psychological, and sexual abuse within the community, including the sexual abuse of minors, and was sanctioned by the Vatican in 2017 and prohibited from having further contact with members of the group, and he is currently living in exile.

In addition to the SCV, Figari is also the founder of two other Peruvian lay communities: the women’s Marian Community of Reconciliation (MCR), known in Spanish as the Fraternidad Mariana de la Reconciliación (FMR), and the Siervas del Plan de Dios, or Servants of the Plan of God (SPD), a group of lay consecrated women founded in Peru by Figari in 1998.

While abuses within the SCV are more widely known, between 2016 and July 2021 nearly 30 former members of the Siervas, some of whom left as recently as 2020, made complaints to ecclesial authorities in Peru, in Chile, and in the Vatican.

In those complaints, former members recounted a toxic and militant internal culture in which authority was unquestioned and members were routinely criticized, belittled, publicly humiliated, and pushed to both physical and mental extremes for the sake of being “tough enough” to meet the challenges of responding to God’s call.

In 2018, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani, then-Archbishop of Lima, launched a canonical investigation into the Siervas after receiving numerous complaints from former members. 

That visitation ended abruptly without concluding its work shortly after Cipriani stepped down and the current Archbishop of Lima, Carlos Castillo, came to office in March 2019.

Sisters in the order were told at the time that the reason the original canonical visitation was interrupted was the change in ecclesial authority in Lima, however, former members have said the real reason was a lack of transparency from members and authorities of the Siervas during the interviews.

At the time, no further action was taken. Amid an avalanche of new complaints and increased pressure, Castillo in December 2021 ordered that a second canonical visitation be made into the Siervas, which concluded last year.

In addition, Castillo has also an investigation into the various complaints made by the former members of the Siervas. The archdiocese has interviewed several former members hailing from various countries around the world as part of the probe and is gathering their testimonies.

Camila Bustamante, a Chilean journalist who was once a candidate to join the Siervas and who last year published a book titled Siervas detailing the alleged abuses that members suffered, in a recent social media post acknowledged the steps that have been taken, and called for members of the group to be interviewed as part of the Vatican’s probe into the SCV.

Bustamante also revealed that as part of the Lima archdiocese’s inquiries into the Siervas, Castillo has named a Comisario, or Commissioner, who will serve as a temporary administrator of the order, meaning current leadership of the Siervas have no decision-making or governance powers.

In a letter sent to those who lodged complaints, dated July 18, days before Scicluna and Bertomeu’s arrival to investigate the SCV, Castillo said Father Iñazio Azcoaga Lasheras will serve as the Commissioner, and that he made the decision to appoint one “due to the serious accusations made against the Servants of the Plan of God” and given his task as bishop “to safeguard the rights of the alleged victims.”

Castillo also announced the establishment of a commission composed of experts in both theology and canonical and civil law in order to advise “of the development of the legal procedural and theological solution or solutions” to the alleged abuse.

He also apologized for an apparent delay in responding to their complaints, saying, “the objective magnitude and complexity of the cases, and of the case as a whole, have required carrying out different steps to achieve solutions in the most solid way possible.”

It’s seen as unlikely that Scicluna and Bertomeu will speak with members and former members of the Siervas during their time in Peru, as their inquiry is focusing on the SCV. 

Observers and former members believe that the outcome of the SCV case, however, may serve as a precedent for the fate of the other communities established by Figari.