Hundreds shut out of sole session on gays at World Meeting of Families

According to RNS, Homosexuality was such a combustible topic at the World Meeting of Families, a four-day Catholic gathering under way here, that it was doused twice.
First, Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput earlier this month barred LGBT Catholics from holding a workshop at a Catholic parish near the event. It moved to a local United Methodist Church instead and is operating simultaneously, but with vastly smaller numbers than the 17,000 people on hand for the main event at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.
Then, just as the single session on homosexuality at this Vatican-approved meeting of Catholic families was to begin on Thursday afternoon (Sept. 24), a conference official took the stage in the main hall, capable of seating at least 10,000, and announced the location had been moved.

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Pope: Bishops who covered up for abuse guilty of wrongdoing

By NICOLE WINFIELD / Associated Press
ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) - Pope Francis has defended his words of consolation to U.S. bishops over the priest sex abuse scandal but says - for the first time - that those who covered up for abusers are guilty of wrongdoing.
In a wide-ranging press conference en route to Rome from his first-ever visit to the United States, Francis also declared conscientious objection a "human right," explained his admiration for American nuns and discussed his own star power, which was fully on display during his six-day, three-city tour.
He also invented a new Italian word to describe the exuberant reception he received in New York City: "stralimitata" - roughly, "beyond all limits."
On his last day in the U.S., Francis on Sunday met with five survivors of sexual abuse and issued a warning to bishops that they would be held accountable if they failed to protect their flocks.
"Those who covered this up are guilty," he said. "There are even some bishops who covered this up. It's something horrible."

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At least 717 people dead in Hajj

According to The Guardian, at least 717 people have been crushed to death in a stampede outside Mecca and more than 850 injured in the deadliest disaster on the annual hajj pilgrimage in a quarter of a century.
Panic broke out when two groups of pilgrims preparing for one of the last major rites of their trip collided at the intersection of two narrow streets. Within minutes the tarmac was a macabre jumble of dishevelled, partially clothed bodies.
The disaster revived questions about Saudi Arabia's ability to manage the world's largest annual migration, and the tragedy turned political as officials and diplomats began trading recriminations even before rescue operations had wound up.
The Saudi monarch, King Salman, ordered a review of the kingdom's plans for the hajj after the disaster. Speaking in a live speech broadcast by Saudi-owned al-Arabiya television, he also said he had asked for a swift investigation into what he described as a painful incident.

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Catholic church missing out on 'billions'

By Jenny Cosgrave / Yahoo Finance
As Pope Francis arrives in the U.S. for a six-day visit , Catholic churches across the country have high hopes that his stopover will reinvigorate and offer fresh inspiration and spiritual guidance to their congregations.
But when it comes to the church's approach to receiving donations, its failure to adapt to easy online and mobile payment options means it is missing out on billions of dollars and suffering a "30-year dramatic downward slide," experts warn.
Some parishes, which still encourage members to give by cash and check, are missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars every year said Patrick Coleman, CEO of online giving platform, GiveCentral, which has a client base that is 80 percent Catholic churches.
"We see that between check givers and online givers the average amount of giving over an entire year period is 35 percent more than those that give via cheque and about 90 percent more that give via cash," he told CNBC.

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It doesn't take more than a glance at the recent Reuters report to see that the American Catholic church doesn't just have a crisis in the rising number of former Catholics. Unsurprisingly, those same Catholics took their money when they walked. The resulting closures of multiple parishes and a drain on the retirement fund for priests have added to the $3 billion cost of the clergy sex abuse scandal, leaving the American church with a massive money problem and shrinking numbers of parishioners on the eve of Pope Francis' arrival.
A recent study by Nicholas Bottan and Ricardo Perez-Trugila in the Journal of Public Economicsrevealed that, unsurprisingly, "a scandal causes a persistent decline in the local Catholic affiliation and church attendance."

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NY Bishop Rape Shames Abuse Victims: Boys Are ‘Culpable’ For Their Actions At 7 Years Old

By Charles Topher - Church and State (website challenging religious privilege in public life)
Bishop Robert Cunningham of the diocese of Syracuse, NY doesn't think priests should take all of the blame for decades, if not centuries, of sexual abuse against young boys. According to Cunningham, the "age of reason" in the Catholic church is seven, so those boys are culpable for their actions.
The shocking statement came during testimony that was recently released from a deposition for a federal lawsuit. Charles Bailey, a survivor of a priest's abuse, asked then-Bishop James Moynihan whether the church held children victims partly responsible for sexual abuse from priests . "(Bishop) Moynihan said that right to my face – 'The age of reason is 7, so if you're at least 7 you're culpable for your actions.' That kind of floored me," said Bailey.
Obviously, the sentiment isn't something one Bishop believes, but a broader excuse used to cover for the guilt of sexual predators.

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Vatican Influence on the U.S. Presidency

By Stephen D. Mumford, DrPH
This article is published in Church and State, website which challenging religious privilege in public life:
Many Americans are victims of the illusion, carefully crafted, that the Catholic bishops have no significant influence on American presidents. No doubt the degree of influence differs from one president to the next. But they all feel and respond to this influence.
The National Catholic Reporter, a major national Catholic weekly newspaper, published a most revealing report in its December 29, 1989 issue. Doug Wead, special assistant to President Bush, was interviewed and quoted as saying: "He [President Bush] has been more sensitive and more accessible to the needs of the Catholic Church than any president I know of in American history."
Wead indicated he felt that Bush's relationship with the American Catholic leadership was much closer than Reagan's had been: "We want the Church to feel loved and wanted, and we want them to have input." This relationship was maintained through five U.S. cardinals: Bernard Law, Joseph Bernardin, Edmund Szoka, John O'Connor, and James Hickey.

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US Priests Accused of Sex Abuse Get a Second Chance by Relocating to South America

By Will Carless
TowleRoad — The Catholic Church has allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children in the United States and Europe to relocate to poor parishes in South America, a yearlong GlobalPost investigation has found.
Reporters confronted five accused priests in as many countries: Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Peru. One priest who relocated to a poor parish in Peru admitted on camera to molesting a 13-year-old boy while working in the Jackson, Mississippi diocese. Another is currently under investigation in Brazil after allegations arose that he abused disadvantaged children living in an orphanage he founded there.
All five were able to continue working as priests, despite criminal investigations or cash payouts to alleged victims. All enjoyed the privilege, respect and unfettered access to young people that comes with being clergy members.

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