40% of Americans view Pope Benedict XVI favorably

What does this say about 40% of Americans?!


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Pope Benedict Favorable Rating Drops to 40% in US (Gallup)

PRINCETON, NJ — A new low of 40% of Americans view Pope Benedict XVI favorably amid new criticism about the Roman Catholic Church’s handling of child sex abuse by priests. Now, nearly as many Americans have an unfavorable view of the pope as have a favorable view.

The current results represent a major shift from two years ago, when the pope’s favorable rating jumped to 63% as he was concluding a well-received visit to the United States that included personal meetings between the pope and victims of sex abuse by U.S. priests. The latest allegations of lax handling of abusive priests mostly concern past abuse cases in Europe, but they implicate the pope, who had a central role in the Catholic Church’s handling of sex abuse cases prior to his becoming pope.

Pope Benedict’s image has deteriorated about equally among Catholics and non-Catholics from its 2008 high — by 20 and 23 points, respectively. Catholics continue to view him much more favorably than non-Catholics.

And now the Vatican wants to shield the Pope from any liability:

How Vatican Tries to Dodge Legal Fallout of Sex Abuse (AOL News):

(March 31) — Developments in a Kentucky court case suggest that the Vatican will seek to shield Pope Benedict XVI and the church from liability in the worldwide clerical sex abuse crisis by distancing itself from individual dioceses.

In legal documents filed in U.S. District Court in Louisville last week, the Vatican claims that as the head of a sovereign state, the Vatican City, the pope is immune from prosecution. The papers further assert that American bishops are not employed by the Holy See.

The Vatican will also likely deny that a 1962 church decree about clergy and the reporting of clerical pedophilia is a “smoking gun” that led to a worldwide cover-up of sexual crimes.

Vatican offers 3 reasons it’s not liable for abuse (AP):

The Vatican is seeking to dismiss the suit before Benedict XVI can be questioned or secret documents subpoenaed.

Religion: Pope claims legal immunity; Vatican, Bishops, defend cover-up (Examiner):

While a cardinal at the Vatican, Joseph Ratzinger, now the pope, wrote a 2001 letter instructing bishops worldwide to report all cases of abuse to his office and keep church investigations secret under threat of excommunication.

The letter is the smoking gun; the Pope is a criminal.

The continuing moral failure of the Pope and Vatican is astonishing. Like a child caught with their hand in the cookie jar, they continue to deny what has now become obvious to the most casual observer.

Related Information:

1963 letter indicates former pope knew of abuse (AP)

Germany’s Catholic Church sexual abuse hotline received 1,000 calls the first day (Digital Journal)

Austrian Catholic Church Abuse Hot Lines Log 566 Reports This Year (Austrian Independent)

Australian Bishop says ‘vast amount’ of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge (Sydney Morning Herald)

Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse FOR YEARS (New York Times)

Christopher Hitchens Slams Vatican, Pope Over Sex Abuse Scandal (Huffington Post)

The Pope Is Not Above the Law (Slate)

Sex Abuse Victims to Sue Vatican (Times)

Pope Benedict Signals Won’t Be Intimidated By Abuse Critics, Uses Popemobile For First Time On A Palm Sunday (New York Times/AFP)

Vatican knew of abuse in Ontario: Victim (Toronto Star)

Pope failed to defrock an American priest who molested hundreds of deaf boys, despite receiving letters from American bishops pleading with him to act (Times)

A church sex scandal where the truth is crucified (Toronto Star)

Sinead O’Connor: ‘There Should Be A Full Criminal Investigation Of The Pope’ (LA Times)

Catholic Church quietly expelling and punishing children, homeless (Irish Central)

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests (Flashback):

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests, according to formerly sealed testimony turned over to Milwaukee County’s district attorney on Thursday.

Swiss Catholic Church Investigating 10 Abuse Cases (Reuters)

Irish Catholic Church Paid Child Sex Abuse Victim To Keep Quiet (Guardian)

Catholic Church Child Abuse: Nuns Now Also Accused (Radio Netherlands Worldwide)

Church: Pope Had Role in Moving Molesting Priest (Bloomberg)

Pope knew priest was paedophile but allowed him to continue with ministry (Times)

Pope will struggle to survive abuse scandal (Irish Independent)

Benedict’s involvement ’shows extent of cover-ups’ (Irish Independent)

Sinead O’Connor: I’d help Jesus to burn down the Vatican (Irish Independent)

RIGHTS-GERMANY: ‘Catholic Church Protects Paedophile Priests’ (IPS)

Child abuse claims sweep Catholic Church in Europe (AP)

Germany’s Catholic Church sexual abuse hotline received 1,000 calls the first day

Amid growing reports of sexual abuse and scandals, Germany’s Catholic Church has launched a sexual abuse helpline, which has angered one organization who helps those victims. However, on its first day the hotline received 1,000 calls.

Trier, Germany – The Roman Catholic Church in Germany launched a telephone hotline for those victims who have been sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests on Tuesday, according to BBC News. A NBC News report shows that the hotline received more than 1,000 calls on its first day.

The helpline, which is based in the western city of Trier, appointed the church’s bishop, Stephen Ackerman, for handling the investigations of any allegations made against its clergy, “We want to be responsive, we want to know what has been suffered and want to support those affected,” said Ackerman.

Many people believe the church should be a last resort to report sexual abuse as they should first contact either police or family members, according to David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, “Victims should tell loved ones and police first. Victims should tell loved ones and police first.”

Read moreGermany’s Catholic Church sexual abuse hotline received 1,000 calls the first day

Austrian Catholic Church Abuse Hot Lines Log 566 Reports This Year

See also: Austrian church abuse hot lines log 566 reports (Boston Herald)


There have been 566 reports of various kinds of abuse by clergy at the Catholic Church’s ombudsman’s offices this year, it was reported today (Tues).

Vienna archdiocese has had the highest number, 174, followed by Innsbruck diocese with 115. More than half of them can no longer be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations.

Cases of sexual abuse constitute 27 per cent of these, cases of violence 26 per cent. More than half of them require further investigation, according to the media.

The rising number of reports has caused Vienna Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, the titular head of the Austrian Catholic Church and chairman of the Austrian Bishops Conference, to react.

Read moreAustrian Catholic Church Abuse Hot Lines Log 566 Reports This Year

Australian Bishop says ‘vast amount’ of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge

THE Catholic Church has a turbulent future as probably a much smaller church in the West, with a ”vast amount” of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge, according to a retired Australian bishop.

”The church is not going to fold up its tent and disappear, but there could be very dramatic changes” as a result of the clergy abuse crisis, said Bishop Geoffrey Robinson.

The Archbishop of Melbourne, Denis Hart, blamed a failure of leadership and a lack of courage for the crisis and warned that while Australia had learnt its lessons, the difficulties for the church in many countries were still coming.

”It’s a big crisis for the church. We are all hurt by this, but we’ve got to face it and get on with it,” he said.

In the past month, Pope Benedict XVI has apologised to Irish Catholics after two devastating secular reports into clerical abuse and cover-ups, and hundreds of new allegations emerged in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

Read moreAustralian Bishop says ‘vast amount’ of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge

Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse FOR YEARS

They were deaf, but they were not silent. For decades, a group of men who were sexually abused as children by the Rev. Lawrence C. Murphy at a school for the deaf in Wisconsin reported to every type of official they could think of that he was a danger, according to the victims and church documents.

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Steven Geier said the priest who molested him as a boy told him he had to keep it a secret. Mr. Geier reported the abuse to three priests, including the Rev. Tom Schroeder

They told other priests. They told three archbishops of Milwaukee. They told two police departments and the district attorney. They used sign language, written affidavits and graphic gestures to show what exactly Father Murphy had done to them. But their reports fell on the deaf ears of hearing people.

This week, they learned that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, received letters about Father Murphy in 1996 from Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee, who said that the deaf community needed “a healing response from the Church.” The Vatican sat on the case, then equivocated, and when Father Murphy died in 1998, he died a priest.

Read moreDeaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse FOR YEARS

Christopher Hitchens Slams Vatican, Pope Over Sex Abuse Scandal

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Christopher Hitchens, whose antagonism towards religion is well-established, had harsh words for the Catholic Church, and the Pope in particular, during an appearance on “Morning Joe” today.

The most recent scandal that has erupted over the priest who molested over 200 deaf boys, Hitchens said, proves that “the fatal taint” goes all the way to the top:

A school for children who can only use sign language. 200 of them have their childhoods completely wrecked by this priest, and entreaties are addressed to the man who is now Pope, Cardinal Ratzinger, the man who was saying at the time that the only problem with the scandal was there was a press campaign against the church. The abuse was not the problem, the torture the rape; only the revelation of it. Nothing happens except that he forgives the priest who asked for forgiveness before he dies.
I wrote then and I believe now that the fatal taint went straight to the top at that point, and now we have as head of the church someone who’s personally as well institutionally responsible for knowing of this, covering it up and protecting, not the children, but the predators.

Asked by host Willie Geist when the Catholic Church will reach a breaking point, considering how many of these scandals it has weathered in the past, Hitchens replied that the breaking point has indeed arrived:

The breaking point just came, when it became obvious from reports from Munich, and reports from Wisconsin, and reports now from Verona, in Italy, that the man who is now calling himself the Pope was the person individually responsible for the coverup.

Read moreChristopher Hitchens Slams Vatican, Pope Over Sex Abuse Scandal

The Pope Is Not Above the Law

The crimes within the Catholic Church demand justice.

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Pope Benedict XVI

One by one, as I predicted, the pathetic excuses of Joseph Ratzinger’s apologists evaporate before our eyes. It was said until recently that when the Rev. Peter Hullermann was found to be a vicious pederast in 1980, the man who is now pope had no personal involvement in his subsequent transfer to his own diocese or in his later unimpeded career as a rapist and a molester. But now we find that the psychiatrist to whom the church turned for “therapy” was adamant that Hullermann never be allowed to go near children ever again. We also find that Ratzinger was one of those to whom the memo about Hullermann’s transfer was actually addressed. All attempts to place the blame on a loyal subordinate, Ratzinger’s vicar general, the Rev. Gerhard Gruber, have predictably failed. According to a recent report, “the transfer of Father Hullermann from Essen would not have been a routine matter, experts said.” Either that-damning enough in itself-or it perhaps would have been a routine matter, which is even worse. Certainly the pattern-of finding another parish with fresh children for the priest to assault-is the one that has become horribly “routine” ever since and became standard practice when Ratzinger became a cardinal and was placed in charge of the church’s global response to clerical pederasty.

So now a new defense has had to be hastily improvised. It is argued that, during his time as archbishop of Munich and Freising, Germany, Ratzinger was more preoccupied with doctrinal questions than with mere disciplinary ones. Of course, of course: The future pope had his eyes fixed on ethereal and divine matters and could not be expected to concern himself with parish-level atrocities. This cobbled-up apologia actually repays a little bit of study. What exactly were these doctrinal issues? Well, apart from punishing a priest who celebrated a Mass at an anti-war demonstration-which incidentally does seem to argue for a “hands-on” approach to individual clergymen-Ratzinger’s chief concern appears to have been that of first communion and first confession. Over the previous decade, it had become customary in Bavaria to subject small children to their first communion at a tender age but to wait a year until they made their first confession. It was a matter of whether they were old enough to understand. Enough of this liberalism, said Ratzinger, the first confession should come in the same year as the first communion. One priest, the Rev. Wilfried Sussbauer, reports that he wrote to Ratzinger expressing misgivings about this and received “an extremely biting letter” in response.

Read moreThe Pope Is Not Above the Law

China: Severe Drought; Cloud-Seeding Across 77 Counties; Emergency Supplies of Drinking Water to 18 Million People; Rice Prices Spike 10% in One Month

Got food & water supplies?

The Food Crisis of 2010: USDA vs Reality

The artificial rain through cloud-seeding is like poison.


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Severe drought in Southwestern China is driving up food prices and heightening concerns about the availability of drinking water.

Price of rice rises in south China (China Daily):

Huang Weijuan, a Guangzhou housewife, said she spent 55 yuan ($8) to buy a bag of rice in Taojin agricultural bazaar in the city’s Yuexiu district over the weekend.

“But the price for the same bag of rice, which weighs 20 kg, was about 50 yuan a month ago,” Huang said.

And the price of courgette, a vegetable which mainly grows in Yunnan province, is now selling at 5 yuan per kg in the bazaar, up 0.5 yuan from last month, Huang said.

“The price of many foods and vegetables have gone up in the past month and I worry that prices will keep increasing,” she said.

The government is rushing to help in order to alleviate the potential for social tension. In some of the hardest hit provinces, the government has been forced to provide emergency supplies of drinking water to 18 million people. They’ve also resorted to creating artificial rain through cloud-seeding. Over 3,200 artillery pieces bombarded the sky with chemicals across 77 counties, forcing moderate rain to fall.

“It was the first rain I have seen since last October, but it only lasted for about three hours from 3 am to 6 am this morning,” Bu Lupiao, a farmer of Bapiao village in Jinghong county, Xishuangbanna Dai autonomous prefecture.

Since October… That’s one heck of a drought. Yet the farmer above was lucky. In Chuxiong Yi prefecture, over 100 cloud seeding guns failed to create rain. Cloud seeding isn’t a long-term solution, thus the natural rain better come soon else there could be more pressure on living standards in drought-hit regions.

Read moreChina: Severe Drought; Cloud-Seeding Across 77 Counties; Emergency Supplies of Drinking Water to 18 Million People; Rice Prices Spike 10% in One Month

Europe’s largest undersea volcano threatens southern Italy: report

ROME (AFP) – Europe’s largest undersea volcano could disintegrate and unleash a tsunami that would engulf southern Italy “at any time”, a prominent vulcanologist warned in an interview published Monday.

The Marsili volcano, which is bursting with magma, has “fragile walls” that could collapse, Enzo Boschi told the leading daily Corriere della Sera.

“It could even happen tomorrow,” said Boschi, president of the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV).

“Our latest research shows that the volcano is not structurally solid, its walls are fragile, the magma chamber is of sizeable dimensions,” he said. “All that tells us that the volcano is active and could begin erupting at any time.”

The event would result in “a strong tsunami that could strike the coasts of Campania, Calabria and Sicily,” Boschi said.

The undersea Marsili, 3,000 meters (9,800 feet) tall and located some 150 kilometres (90 miles) southwest of Naples, has not erupted since the start of recorded history.

It is 70 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide, and its crater is some 450 metres below the surface of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Read moreEurope’s largest undersea volcano threatens southern Italy: report

Sex Abuse Victims to Sue Vatican

The Pope’s record is “above discussion”!

Pope failed to defrock an American priest who molested hundreds of deaf boys, despite receiving letters from American bishops pleading with him to act (Times)

A church sex scandal where the truth is crucified (Toronto Star)


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The Pope has been accused of protecting Father Lawrence Murphy


NEW revelations about Pope Benedict XVI’s alleged role in covering up accusations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy have exposed the Vatican to the risk of lawsuits brought by victims around the world.

Mounting anger at the Catholic Church’s failure to act on predatory priests in the US, Europe and Mexico has plunged the papacy into an institutional crisis described by an American Catholic newspaper last week as “the largest in centuries”.

Yesterday the Vatican denounced the “aggressive persistence” of critics who were attempting to “involve the Holy Father personally in the matter of abuse”. A spokesman told Vatican Radio that the Pope’s record was “above discussion”.

Yet the talk in Catholic circles was of little else as the Pope’s former life as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, archbishop of Munich and senior Vatican administrator, came under intensifying scrutiny.

Last week it was alleged that, as head of the Vatican office monitoring priestly misconduct, Ratzinger failed to punish Father Lawrence Murphy, who abused up to 200 boys at a Wisconsin school for the deaf.

Instead of being defrocked or reported to police, Murphy remained a priest until his death in 1998.

“We are talking about a man who, before he became Pope, knew what Murphy was doing and did nothing about it,” said Donald Marshall, a mechanic who claims Murphy assaulted him in 1977 when he was 13. “The Pope is a fraud and a hypocrite.”

The reports coincided with a burgeoning German row over Father Peter Hullermann, a Bavarian priest who received therapy for paedophilia in Ratzinger’s diocese and was transferred to a new parish, where he continued molesting boys.

Read moreSex Abuse Victims to Sue Vatican