Church

Religious Order to Pay $24.8 Million to Settle Delaware Priest Abuse Lawsuits

Words escape me:

Dover, Del. — A Roman Catholic religious order agreed Thursday to pay $24.8 million to settle lawsuits filed by 39 survivors of priest sex abuse in Delaware.

As part of the settlement, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales also agreed for the first time to release the names of 12 of its members identified as child molesters and to disclose personnel files and records related to their placement, supervision and handling.

“I am sorry in the name of all Oblates for anything that an Oblate has done to violate a trust or to harm a person,” said the Rev. James Greenfield, head of the Oblates’ Wilmington-Philadelphia province. His members work in schools and other ministries from Massachusetts to Florida.

Greenfield said the settlement brings an end to litigation against the order and Salesianum School, a Catholic high school in Wilmington, Del., run by the Oblates, and clears the way for the order to try to rebuild trust with the victims.“I’m going to commit myself to doing that,” Greenfield said.

Attorneys for the Oblates began working on a settlement after the Delaware Supreme Court in February rejected their challenge to a 2007 law that gave alleged victims of child sexual abuse a two-year window in which to file lawsuits that otherwise would have been barred by the passage of time.

Mark Reardon, an attorney for the Oblates, noted Thursday that the most recent incident involving the Oblates dates back more than 20 years. He nevertheless said his clients were feeling “sheer relief” that the lawsuits had been resolved…

Bart Dalton, an attorney for 24 of the 39 plaintiffs, said he was satisfied with the settlement, particularly the non-monetary provisions that will shed light on how the Oblates handled pedophile priests and require the order to maintain policies and training programs aimed at preventing future abuse.

“Children in our community are going to be safer,” Dalton said. “The survivors of abuse are the ones who stood up here, and they’re the ones who made things better for everybody.”

The settlement was announced one week after a federal bankruptcy judge in Wilmington approved the Catholic Diocese of Wilmington’s bankruptcy reorganization plan, which is based on a separate $77.4 million settlement with about 150 victims of priest sex abuse, including 37 of the 39 plaintiffs who also sued the Oblates.

The diocese filed for bankruptcy protection in 2009 on the eve of a series of trials scheduled in lawsuits filed by alleged abuse victims. Under the terms of the diocese’s bankruptcy plan, about $23.6 million from the Oblate settlement will be transferred into the bankruptcy settlement trust for distribution among abuse victims.

The remaining $1.27 million from the Oblate settlement will be paid directly to two “John Doe” plaintiffs who sued the religious order and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia but were not part of the Wilmington diocese bankruptcy case.

Greenfield said approval of the diocese’s bankruptcy plan cleared the way for a final settlement with the Oblate plaintiffs because most of them also had named the diocese as a defendant in their lawsuits.

In agreeing to the settlement, the Oblates released the names of 12 members with admitted or substantiated allegations of abuse. Eight of them are dead, and the four still alive have been removed from ministry. Two reside at an Oblate retirement facilty in Childs, Md., and the other two are at an Oblate facility in Washington, D.C. Greenfield said all four are monitored and supervised.

The settlement calls for records involving the 12 identified abusers to be turned over to the plaintiffs, on a rolling basis, within 120 days. If any dispute over document production arises, a special arbitrator will be appointed to resolve the matter.

Tom Neuberger, an attorney for some of the Oblate plaintiffs, said the settlement represented only a partial victory because it does not bind the worldwide Oblate community headquartered in Rome.

But Greenfield, the Oblate provincial, rejected the notion that Oblates elsewhere in the world pose a danger to children.

“An Oblate of St. Francis de Sales everywhere in the world understands the absolute importance of child protection,” he said. “These lawsuits were about this province on the East Coast, and I only have jurisdiction to speak for this province.”

Reardon, the attorney for the Oblates, said the province will share “lessons learned” with the worldwide order.

The above was in the Washington Post  here.
Church

Our Lady of Sorrows – Softener of Evil Hearts

Writes Stuart in a timely, welcome and rather refreshing post:

… I’m sure most of us will immediately sense that the above Icon is our Lady of Sorrows, and be very familiar with the seven sorrows that pierced the heart of Our Lady. Perhaps like me, you have spend time reflecting and meditating on her Sorrows, whilst praying through the powerful Scripture passages. For those not quite as familiar her Sorrows begin with the Prophecy of Simeon (Luke 2:34-35);  The flight into Egypt (Matt 2:13);  The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 3:43-45); The meeting with her Son on the Way to Calvary (Luke 22: 26); Our Lord’s Death on the Cross (John 19:25); 6) Receiving His precious body in her arms. (Matt 27:57-59); And our Lord’s body being placed in the Tomb (John 19:40-42)

Yet perhaps we are not quite as familiar with this specific beautiful Icon known by our Orthodox brothers and sisters as the Softener of Evil Hearts. Perhaps we are even less familiar with the heart swelling depth of reverence and beautiful liturgy found in the Akathist to the Mother of God.  Below is the beginning of the Akathist, called The Apolytikion.

“Soften our evil hearts, O Theotokos, and quench the attacks of those who hate us and loose all straitness of our soul.

For looking on thy holy icon, we are filled with compunction by thy suffering and loving-kindness for us, and we kiss thy wounds;  we are filled with horror for the darts with which we wound thee.

Let us not, O Mother of Compassion,  according to the cruelty of our hearts, perish from the cruelty of heart of those near us, for thou art in truth the Softener of Evil Hearts.”

The beauty of the Eastern Tradition of Icons lay in the harmony, colour and composition and their very apparent flatness, leads us on into the stillness. Unlike Western art we cannot immediately seize their meaning, so we must allow the meaning to come to us. One needs disengage the mind, and begin to see with the heart.   Holy Icons exert a calming influence, allowing us to stand (or sit) peacefully before them, so that we may be drawn into the stillness and then into contemplation.

It is here that we are freed for a few moments from the worries and concerns of everyday life, and from the materialistic world that surrounds and impacts us all, as we are drawn deeper and higher towards the spiritual world.  Perhaps this is why Icons are known as doors to Paradise. And with the Softener of hearts Icon, it is our Mother who leads us deeper in prayer and into contemplation of the divine mysteries of our Lord.

The whole post is here.

Culture

Stamina Pills for Men Made of Dead Babies

The Creative Minority Report brings us this appalling report:

A documentary set to air in South Korea tomorrow is alleging that Chinese hospitals are selling aborted babies and stillborn children to a drug company which is grinding them up and selling them as “stamina” pills for men, according to news reports.

Dr. Kyle Johnson sent CMR this story from that was originated by a Korean newspaper called the New Daily. I ran it through Google translation and Weird Asia News is now running a version of the story.

When the hospital has a deceased baby case, the staff, who are openly involved, are instructed to immediately  notify the medicine company.  The documentary team reveals the super secret process of how the Dead Baby Pill is made.

The medicine company stores these dead babies in a normal family’s refrigerator, so no one can find out.  Then, when ready to use, they put the dead baby in a medical drying microwave, also located in someone’s house.  Once dry, they grind it up and put it in the capsule.

At a very high price the documentary team got their hands on some of these pill and had them tested.

The results:  99.7% HUMAN

A documentary will air on the 6th of August in South Korea showing that test results found hair and nails.

No word yet on whether this pill has been experted to other countries.

How far can humans still fall?!

Church

Dutch Protestant Clergy Rethink Christianity: Jesus May Never Have Existed

You don’t have to believe that Jesus was physically resurrected.

The BBC reports:

kirkeThe Rev Klaas Hendrikse can offer his congregation little hope of life after death, and he’s not the sort of man to sugar the pill.
An imposing figure in black robes and white clerical collar, Mr Hendrikse presides over the Sunday service at the Exodus Church in Gorinchem, central Holland.

It is part of the mainstream Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN), and the service is conventional enough, with hymns, readings from the Bible, and the Lord’s Prayer. But the message from Mr Hendrikse’s sermon seems bleak – “Make the most of life on earth, because it will probably be the only one you get”.

“Personally I have no talent for believing in life after death,” Mr Hendrikse says. “No, for me our life, our task, is before death.”

Nor does Klaas Hendrikse believe that God exists at all as a supernatural thing.

Mr Hendrikse describes the Bible’s account of Jesus’s life as a mythological story about a man who may never have existed, even if it is a valuable source of wisdom about how to lead a good life…

A study by the Free University of Amsterdam found that one-in-six clergy in the PKN and six other smaller denominations was either agnostic or atheist.

The Rev Kirsten Slattenaar, Exodus Church’s regular priest, also rejects the idea – widely considered central to Christianity – that Jesus was divine as well as human.

I think ‘Son of God’ is a kind of title,” she says. “I don’t think he was a god or a half god. I think he was a man, but he was a special man because he was very good in living from out of love, from out of the spirit of God he found inside himself.”

… some Christian groups seem ready virtually to reinvent Christianity. They want the Netherlands to be a laboratory for Christianity, experimenting with radical new ways of understanding the faith

Perhaps they should just start a new religion or sect or whatever, for Christian it is not! Heretics. And they may as well stick with the name ‘Exodus’.

There is more here.

HT

Church

Poll: 80% of Palestinians Support Hamas and the Annihilation of Israel

Jerusalem, Israel — A new poll among Palestinians indicates there’s overwhelming support for the charter of the terrorist group Hamas — a dangerous element if the Palestinians gain statehood in September.

The Israel Project found that 80 percent Palestinians support Hamas. The desire to annihilate the Jewish people is one of the main goals of the Hamas organization.

“Eighty percent is a very frightening number so it’s very disturbing to see these significant numbers,” Jennifer Laszlo-Mizrachi, founder and president of The Israel Project.

“But that’s still not surprising because they have been indoctrinated over generations to hate Israel and Jews,” she added.

The Israel Project is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to getting the facts about Israel and the Middle East to the press, policy leaders and the public…

(HT)

Can we, as Christians, turn our backs on the Jewish people? We really owe a debt of eternal gratitude to the Jewish people for their contribution that eventually gave birth to the Christian faith. And I think it is important to be right on Israel and the Jewish people.

I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you (Gen 12:3).

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper that love thee  (Psalm 122:6).

Truly, the guardian of Israel never slumbers nor sleeps (Psalm 121:4).

Church

Less Kneeling and More Standing for Scottish Catholics at Mass

Could it be?

Scottish Catholics will soon be told to stand during parts of the Mass where  they have traditionally knelt. The instruction from the Bishops of Scotland,  which has not yet been publicly announced, will come into effect at the  beginning of Advent this year.

“These changes will help to maintain a unity of posture during Mass across  the English speaking world,” said Bishop Joseph Toal of Argyll and the Isles,  president of the National Liturgy Commission, to EWTN News on Aug. 3.

Currently, Scottish Catholics kneel for the Preface of the Eucharistic Prayer  as well as for the final blessing and dismissal at the end of Mass. From the  First Sunday of Advent – Nov. 27 – they will now be asked to stand for both.

The changes coincide with the introduction of the new English translation of  the Mass.

“Make no doubt about it, theses changes in posture are the revenge of trendy  liturgists for the introduction of a new, more traditional, translation of the  Mass which they really dislike,” said one Scottish priest to EWTN News after  being briefed on the changes.

The priest asked to remain anonymous.

“These people don’t like kneeling during any part of the Mass and so have a  particular distaste for those traditional, pious Scottish customs which for  generations have seen us kneel during Holy Mass more than, say, the English do.”

“In fact, many parishioners will simply see these changes as ‘bringing us  into line with England’ and they won’t like that. I’m quite upset  myself.”

The universal guidelines for how priests and people should pray at Mass – the  General Instruction of the Roman Missal – state that it is “up to the conference  of bishops to adapt the actions and postures described in the Order of the Roman  Mass to the customs of the people.”

“If the Scottish bishops go ahead with this proposal, it would make sense for  any changes to congregations’ participation in the Mass to be introduced in  Scotland simultaneously with the new English translation of the Roman Missal,” said Liz Leydon, editor of the Scottish Catholic Observer, to EWTN News.

“That would certainly be preferable to making additional changes regarding  when we sit, stand and kneel further down the line.”

The above was here.

St James, the brother of the Lord, for one I fear, would not approve. His knees were reputed to have acquired the hardness of camels’ knees from all the prayer. I’m pretty sure that it’s on our knees that we meet God.