Sex abuse survivor astonished to learn her tormentor, Fr Joseph Jeyapaul, reinstated in Ooty – Michael O’Keeffe

Megan Peterson

Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul“Peterson, repeatedly raped by Fr Joseph Jeyapaul at 14, was stunned to learn he’s reinstated by the Catholic Church: ‘He’d tell me I would have to go to confess for making him impure'” – Michael O’Keeffe

When Megan Peterson was 14, she was raped and sexually assaulted—sometimes inside the church confessional booth—over the course of a year by her parish priest.

So the abuse survivor was astounded to learn her tormentor, the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul, was reinstated earlier this month by Catholic Church officials after a suspension of roughly the same duration of her time as a victim.

“It’s very clear what side the Church is on and it’s not about child protection or about morality,” said Peterson, a 26-year-old artist who now lives in Queens. “The bottom line is that the Church is not protecting children.”

Peterson, the New York City coordinator for the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests), charges the Church gave a virtual green light for Jeyapaul to target children in his native India.

The reverend returned to his homeland late last year, when he also appealed for a return to his priestly duties. He was suspended for less than a full year.

Peterson, who grew up in Greenbush, Minn., says she was a devout 14-year-old altar server and church choir member when the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul first raped her in his parish office.

The abuse continued for a year and some of the attacks took place in the church confessional.

Peterson told a school counselor about the abuse, and the counselor notified law enforcement officials. Jeyapaul fled to India in 2010 after he was charged with assaulting Peterson and another girl. The priest was arrested in 2012 by Interpol and extradited to the United States.

The priest pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the second girl in a plea bargain deal. The charges stemming from his alleged abuse of Peterson were dropped.

Jeyapaul was sentenced to a year in prison but was released shortly after the plea deal was reached because of time served while awaiting trial. Peterson sued the Diocese of Crookston, Minn., and won a $750,000 settlement in 2011.

Jeyapaul returned to India late last year and appealed for a return to the ministry after serving a suspension of less than a year. The diocese lifted Jeyapaul’s ban after getting approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine in January.

The Vatican’s embassy in Washington did not return requests from comment and the diocese did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Peterson said the ruling by the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith move is an insult to her and all other survivors of clergy abuse.

“I thought I had seen everything but I was clearly mistaken,” she said. “I’m very hurt and very angry. Actions speak louder than words and this is a slap in the face.”

The Vatican did not respond to a request for comment.

The decision to lift the priest’s suspension was particularly painful given its proximity to Pope Francis’ recent intimation of a special place in hell for bishops who enable rather than report child-molesting clergymen.

“A bishop who transfers a priest of a parish when a case of pedophilia is discovered is an unconscientious man and the best thing he can do is to present his resignation,” Francis said after his six-day trip to Mexico.

Jeyapaul pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a different underage girl in a plea bargain deal where the charges in his abuse of Peterson were dropped.

Peterson sued the Diocese of Crookston, Minn., and won a $750,000 settlement in 2011.

Peterson said she met first Jeyapaul in 2004 after his transfer to Blessed Sacrament Church, her parish in Greenbush, Minn., a small town near the Canadian border.

She was a deeply religious 14-year-old altar server and a singer in the church choir when Jeyapaul first raped her in his office, according to Peterson.

She had dreamed about becoming a nun before the abuse began, she said.

The abuse continued for almost a year, Peterson said, with Jeyapaul threatening “physical violence” if she told anybody about what happened.

Peterson, who was sexually abused when she was younger, believes she became a target because of her vulnerability. In a cruel twist, she had embraced her faith as a way to cope with the earlier abuse.

She described Jeyapaul as a predator whose first attack occurred just minutes after he invited her into his office to talk about books. – Daily News, 24 February 2016


Jeff Anderson & Mike Finnegan

Arulappan AmalrajLawsuit filed against Ooty bishop for reinstating child-raping priest – Michael O”Keeffe

A Catholic diocese in India has put children at risk by reinstating the priest who allegedly assaulted a sexual abuse survivor, according to an explosive lawsuit filed Tuesday in Minnesota federal court.

The suit filed by veteran sex abuse attorney Jeff Anderson on behalf of former New Yorker Megan Peterson, who recently moved to Wisconsin, names the Diocese of Ootacamund in southern India as the sole defendant.

“This is about protecting children in India from the callous antics of the Bishop of Ootacamund,” said Peterson, a member of the advocacy group SNAP (Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests).

Peterson, who grew up in Greenbush, Minn., says she was a devout 14-year-old altar server and church choir member when the Rev. Joseph Jeyapaul first raped her in his parish office.

The abuse continued for a year and some of the attacks took place in the church confessional.

Peterson told a school counselor about the abuse, and the counselor notified law enforcement officials. Jeyapaul fled to India in 2010 after he was charged with assaulting Peterson and another girl. The priest was arrested in 2012 by Interpol and extradited to the United States.

The priest pleaded guilty to sexual assault of the second girl in a plea bargain deal. The charges stemming from his alleged abuse of Peterson were dropped.

Jeyapaul was sentenced to a year in prison but was released shortly after the plea deal was reached because of time served while awaiting trial. Peterson sued the Diocese of Crookston, Minn., and won a $750,000 settlement in 2011.

Jeyapaul returned to India late last year and appealed for a return to the ministry after serving a suspension of less than a year. The diocese lifted Jeyapaul’s ban after getting approval from the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine in January.

The Vatican’s embassy in Washington did not return requests from comment and the diocese did not respond to an email seeking comment. – Daily News, 16 April 2016

» Michael O’Keeffe is a reporter with the New York Daily News Sports Investigative Team.

Pope Francis

Cardinal diverts children’s funds to his million dollar penthouse – Barbie Latza Nadeau

 Tarcisio Bertone

Barbie Latza NadeauIt must surely be an embarrassment to Francis that his churchmen are not following his pleas for frugality. By any standard of measure, Bertone’s apartment renovations are over-the-top.” – Barbie Latza Nadeau

It is hard to imagine two men more different than frugal Pope Francis and the Vatican’s former spendthrift secretary of state Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone. The Pope lives in a spartan 750-square-foot apartment inside the Vatican’s modest Santa Marta guesthouse. Cardinal Bertone, meanwhile, is caught up in a spending scandal surrounding lavish renovations for his penthouse apartment nearly 10 times that size.

Bertone—who served in the Vatican’s No. 2 position as secretary of state from 2006 until Francis essentially retired him in 2013—decided to combine two vacant Vatican-owned rooftop apartments for himself and his three service nuns at an estimated cost of around half a million euro, which was discounted by 50 percent, according to official estimates published by the Italian newspaper Il Tempo.

But despite the considerable savings, the renovations were apparently paid for twice, meaning the discount was likely down to creative—or corrupt—accounting, which is being investigated by a Vatican Tribunal that opened a criminal dossier into the matter last week.

Emiliano FittipaldiAccording to journalist Emiliano Fittipaldi, who first broke the news of Bertone’s lavish penthouse being funded by a children’s hospital in his book Greed last year, the renovation cost was funneled through a London-based holding company run by Bertone’s personal friend. “The money destined for sick children was in actuality used for the renovations and then sent on to London,” Fittipaldi wrote. “Bertone’s name is not cited in the magistrates’ document but the Holy See will find it hard to overlook his direct involvement in the scandal.”

Bertone says he can prove he paid around $340,000 for the work out of his own pocket, but the foundation that raises money for the Vatican-owned Bambino Gesu children’s hospital apparently also paid $455,000.

No matter who paid for what, or even where the money came from, it must surely be an embarrassment to Francis that his churchmen are not following his pleas for frugality. By any standard of measure, Bertone’s apartment renovations are over-the-top. According to the estimates that were published in the Italian press, each of the bedrooms has its own private bathroom, and the kitchen facilities are befitting a banquet hall. Bertone spent $22,000 on “eight independent sharable audio programs and audio controls with LCD display for each environment.” That essentially boils down to a sound system where each room in the lavish apartment, including the rooftop chapel, can be programed with its own mood music. This, for a prelate and three nuns who have no official role whatsoever in Francis’s church.

The massive-for-Rome apartment is being floored with 2,400 square feet of expensive herringbone oak parquet which cost the cardinal and the hospital $28,000. A smaller 750-square-foot area is being covered with luxury white Carrara marble at a price tag of $11,000. The double-glaze energy-efficient windows cost $80,000 and the front security door is priced at $6,000.

Greg BurkeThe high-efficiency silent heat pumps cost $32,000 and climate control dehumidifying system comes in at $19,000.

According to deputy director of the Vatican press office Greg Burke, the hospital’s former president Giuseppe Profiti, and its former treasurer Massimo Spina, who were in charge of allocating funds for Bambino Gesu Hospital, are being criminally investigated for misappropriating funds meant for sick children.

Bertone is not under investigation—not yet anyway. But he quickly gave $170,000 to the children’s hospital in December. “It is a donation that reflects my sentimental attachment to the hospital and its little patients,” he said at the time of his generous donation.

The hospital president, Mariella Enoc, apparently didn’t see it quite that way. “Acknowledging that what has happened has been detrimental to the Bambino Gesu, Cardinal Bertone wanted to meet us half way, donating a sum of 150,000 euros,” she said when the donation was made.

Bertone has been on the defensive since the allegations first came to light, pointing out that “scores of other prelates live in even nicer apartments.” In fact, both Nuzzi and Fittipaldi gave examples of countless other cardinals whose lifestyles are in stark contrast to the way Francis has chosen to live. “The apartment is spacious, as is normal for the residences in the ancient palaces of the Vatican, and dutifully restored (at my expense),” he wrote on a blog attached to the diocese of Genoa that he ran before being promoted to secretary of state. “I may temporarily use and after me it will benefit someone else. In the words of the Pope Saint John XXIII, ‘I do not stop to pick up the stones that are thrown at me.'”

Fittipaldi, along with another journalist Gianluigi Nuzzi, are currently on trial for publishing leaked documents they were allegedly given by a Spanish Cardinal and pregnant public relations consultant. Their trial, dubbed Vatileaks II, after the first Vatileaks trial saw Pope Benedict XVI’s butler guilty of leaking documents to Nuzzi, picks up again on April 6. – The Daily Beast, 4 March 2016

Bambino Gesu Hospital

See also

St Teresa: The hypocrisy of it all – Jayant Chowdhury

Pope Francis

Writer“The National Catholic Reporter says the crisis facing the Catholic Church is the “largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in Church history”. A 2009 Pew study said that since the 1960s, four American-born Catholics left the Church for every one who has converted. This decline in the number of western Catholics has been more than made up by new Catholic converts among the Hispanics, Africans and Asians. … Hence, the need to showcase miracle cures in Brazil and India in order to lure more and more people from these countries and regions into the Catholic fold.” – Jayant Chowdhury

Narendra ModiA little over a year ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was reported to have claimed at an event at a private hospital in Mumbai that cosmetic surgery and transplants was practiced in ancient India, and that stem cell technology and in-vitro fertilisation were also known to Indians thousands of years ago. His “preposterous” claims drew immediate ridicule from many, with good reason. The “left-liberal” brigade went hammer and tongs against Modi and the Hindutvavadis.

But the brigade’s supposed scientific, rational and logical credentials vanish quite quickly in some cases. Late last week [Dec 2015], the Vatican endorsed a miraculous cure in December 2008 of an unnamed man in Brazil who had a brain tumour and attributed it to the intercession of the “Blessed Teresa of Kolkata”. This has cleared the path for sainthood for Mother Teresa. Earlier, in September 1998, another such miraculous cure of a tribal woman in West Bengal’s South Dinajpur district led to the beatification of the Albanian nun.

Monica BesraAccording to the Catholic Church, the tribal woman, Monica Besra, was suffering from an ovarian tumour and medical intervention was fruitless. Sisters of the Missionaries of Charity then placed a medallion bearing Mother Teresa’s image on her abdomen and prayed for her recovery. Besra later said that she saw a ray of light emanating from the medallion and fell unconscious; when she awoke the next morning, the tumour was gone. Doctors who were treating her claimed she had an abdominal cyst caused by tuberculosis and medicines cured her of the cyst.

Fr Brian KolodiejchukThe Brazilian man’s miraculous cure, as claimed by the Vatican, is even more dramatic. He was suffering from a viral brain infection that resulted in multiple abscesses and by December 2008, he had gone into a coma due to accumulation of fluid around his brain and doctors were preparing for surgery to remove the fluid. Reverend Brian Kolodiejchuk, who was spearheading the cause for canonization of Mother Teresa and has been investigating and endorsing these ‘miracles’ attributed to Mother Teresa, told the media that 30 minutes before the Brazilian man was to be wheeled into the operation theatre, he regained consciousness, sat up and was without any pain! The Vatican attributed this cure to prayers for Mother Teresa’s intercession by the man’s wife who, at the time of his scheduled surgery, was at her parish church praying alongside her pastor.

The silence of the left-liberal brigade on these ridiculous claims by the Catholic Church is, to put it mildly, deafening. But then, the double standards of this section is well-known and well-documented. Criticising Hindus for their “blind beliefs” in rituals and rites is par for the course. But silence is their golden medium when it comes to other religions. It is perfectly fine for a Muslim to light candles at a dargah to seek the intercession of a particular pir, but try explaining to them the significance and rationale behind a Hindu ritual, and they’ll scoff at you and dismiss you as a regressive retard.

But a Monica Besra’s or a Brazilian man’s miraculous cures raises no eyebrows among “rationalists”. After all, there is no Hindu seer involved, but the Pope is a powerful western symbol of credibility.

Mother Teresa MedalThat aside, there are some important questions that need to be answered by the left-liberals and all those celebrating the imminent canonisation of Mother Teresa. One, would they recommend that medallions bearing Mother Teresa’s image be, from now on, placed on all patients across the world having abdominal tumors for instant cures or that the spouses of critical patients ought to pray to Mother Teresa for intercession for miracle cures? Can the Vatican guarantee cures? If Mother Teresa could cure Monica Besra or the Brazilian man, surely the millions of ill and ailing all over the world can be similarly cured. After all, saintly figures surely don’t discriminate and bless all equally. Now, at long last, there is hope for critically ill patients all over the world. When medicines fail, turn to the Mother! Hallelujah!

There is one more very important question that begs an answer. Why has the Vatican been so keen on beatifying and then canonising Mother Teresa? It must be remembered that as per conventions of the Catholic Church, a five-year waiting period is observed before the process of beatification of a prominent faithful is initiated. Mother Teresa died on 5 September 1997 and in early 1999, Pope John Paul II waived the five-year waiting period and allowed the immediate opening of the beatification cause. Mother Teresa was beatified on 19 October 2003, making hers the shortest beatification process in modern history. The canonisation process—investigating miracles attributed to Mother Teresa and choosing the most prominent and ‘authentic’ one—started immediately after that.

Why this rush to make Mother Teresa into a Saint? The answer: India is where the market for conversions is largest. It must be remembered that Monica Besra and her family converted to Christianity after her miracle cure. And her husband, Selku Murmu, confessed that after the conversion, they became richer than their neighbours—they were given money to buy a plot of land, renovate their hut, get their children admitted to schools and for clothes and provisions. Their improved lifestyle lured many other families in their tiny of village of Dhulinakod to convert to Christianity.

National Catholic ReporterAt a time when the Catholic Church’s appeal in the developed west is declining sharply, the Vatican has realised that it needs to increase its appeal among the people in the developing world—Latin America, Africa and Asia. This realisation has been spurred by statistics which show that Hispanics and Latin Americans make for a greater share of the Catholic population. The National Catholic Reporter says the crisis facing the Catholic Church is the “largest institutional crisis in centuries, possibly in Church history”. A 2009 Pew study said that since the 1960s, four American-born Catholics left the Church for every one who has converted. This decline in the number of western Catholics has been more than made up by new Catholic converts among the Hispanics, Africans and Asians. And this is where the Vatican now wants to concentrate. Hence, the need to showcase miracle cures in Brazil and India in order to lure more and more people from these countries and regions into the Catholic fold.

The Catholic Church will now highlight the miracle cures of Monica Besra and the Brazilian man to showcase to people across Asia, Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America the power of its saints. Imagine the powerful message of a Catholic ‘saint’ who possesses miraculous healing powers that the Catholic Church can send across to a poor, illiterate tribal in India. That message, backed by enticements like money and provisions and free education for kids, is what the Vatican knows will bring in more and more converts.

Mother Teresa, whose contributions and work are mired in controversies, will most likely be used by the Vatican to proselytise more and more people in the developing world. But India’s left-liberals are perfectly at ease with this; it’s only ‘ghar wapsis’ that get their goat. – Swarajya, 15 December 2015

» Jayant Chowdhury is an avid observer of and commentator on politics and society in Bengal and north-eastern  India.

Mohan Bhagwat

See also

Is canonising Mother Teresa the Vatican’s strategy to gain ground in India? – Sandeep B.

Mother TeresaMother Teresa & Charles Keating“You urge Judge Ito to look into his heart—as he sentences Charles Keating—and do what Jesus would do. I submit the same challenge to you. Ask yourself what Jesus would do if he were given the fruits of a crime; what Jesus would do if he were in possession of money that had been stolen; what Jesus would do if he were being exploited by a thief to ease his conscience?… You have been given money by Mr. Keating that he has been convicted of stealing by fraud. Do not permit him the ‘indulgence’ he desires….”

This was Paul Turley, the Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles and Charles Keating’s co-prosecutor, replying to Mother Teresa who had written a letter to Judge Lance Ito who was about to hand out a damning sentence to Keating who in turn had duped millions of America’s small investors inducing them to invest in his Ponzi schemes.

Now why would Mother Teresa of Kolkata write to a US judge in this manner? Because Charles Keating was her friend and benefactor who had bestowed 1.25 million dollars (in the 1980s).

Needless, Mother Teresa never replied to Turley. Charles Keating was punished with ten years’ imprisonment.

Last week, Pope Francis announced that Mother Teresa would finally be canonised as a saint on September 4 this year. That date marks the 19th death anniversary of the 20th century’s Nobel Prize-winning Catholic nun.

Mother Teresa also represents a timeless phenomenon rooted in the human psyche: of the willing sacrifice of reason at the altar of packaged piety.

The criticism of Mother Teresa hinges typically around these themes:

  • Her fanatically rigid views on abortion, contraception and divorce;
  • Her methods of caring for the sick and the dying at her hospice in Kolkata, as also baptising the dying—who were barely in a state to give consent—so she could take one more step to be “united with Jesus.” (Brian Kolodiejchuk: Mother Teresa: Come be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta);
  • The suspicious management of the enormous sums of money her Missionaries of Charity received;
  • Her friendships with all manner of wealthy—but shady—characters, dictators and the like to whom she awarded character certificates of Godliness in return for the favours and money she received from them while overlooking, even justifying their unsavoury deeds.

Christopher HitchensThese revelations were first uncovered by her most vocal and famous critic, the late Christopher Hitchens in his seminal The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice.

The medical doctor Aroup Chatterjee followed Hitchens’ lead by writing the comprehensive Mother Teresa: The Final Verdict, containing extensive documentation to back up his damning critique about Mother Teresa.

The deceased American social commentator and Pulitzer-winning journalist Murray Kempton notes that Mother Teresa’s “love for the poor is curiously detached from every expectation or even desire for the betterment of their mortal lot and is concentrated upon accelerating their progress toward “the greatest development of the human life, to die in peace and dignity, for that’s for eternity.”

Both Hitchens and Chatterjee were committed atheists and had nothing to gain personally from these investigations about Mother Teresa.

After she was catapulted into instant worldwide stardom thanks to the BBC’s Malcolm Muggeridge’s documentary, Something Beautiful for God, she became sacrosanct, above the scrutiny of mere mortals. And her legend only grew until she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance speech, she called abortion the “greatest destroyer of peace.”

Hitchens traces Mother Teresa’s elevation to uncritical holiness in these terms:

The rich world has a poor conscience, and many people liked to alleviate their own unease by sending money to a woman who seemed like an activist for “the poorest of the poor.” People do not like to admit that they have been gulled or conned, so a vested interest in the myth was permitted to arise, and a lazy media never bothered to ask any follow-up questions.

Equally, in his analysis of the Mother Teresa phenomenon he reminds us of the “elementary rules of logic, that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and that what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence.”

However, the most definitive—or damning—academic evidence that there was another side to Teresa’s piety and caring for the sick, poor, and the dying emanates from a study done by Professors Serge Larivée and Geneviève Chénard of the University of Montreal and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa.

The paper (abstract here; extracts here) titled Les côtésténébreux de Mère Teresa (The Dark Side of Mother Teresa) published in the March 2013 issue of the journal, Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses is the result of an “analysis of 287 documents covering covering 96% of the literature on the life and work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta (born Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu), the Albanian-Indian Roman Catholic nun, 1979 Nobel Peace Prize winner, and founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC).”

These documents include Mother Teresa’s own correspondences and letters but more on this in a bit.

Pope FrancisBecause the Vatican has now officially announced the date of her canonisation, it stands to reason to examine its long relationship with Mother Teresa.

If there’s one aspect of the Christian faith that the Vatican controls with an iron fist, it is the matter of hierarchy: unquestionable obedience at all times. Every bishop, priest, preacher, nun and mother must know his or her place at all times. The Vatican doesn’t permit unsanctioned or free agent Christian saints.

And so, when Teresa of the Loreto Sisters sought permission from her superiors in 1946 to start her own (new) order, her request was turned down by Archbishop Ferdinand Perier. After two years of incessant pleading, the Vatican finally gave its approval. Two months after this, she landed in Calcutta.

In 1962, at a gathering of Indian Catholics in Bombay, she strongly opposed the reforms initiated by the Second Vatican Council and called for “more work and more faith not doctrinal revision.”

Her belief in the core Christian doctrine was absolute and literal. As Hitchens notes,

Her position was ultra-reactionary and fundamentalist even in orthodox Catholic terms. Believers are indeed enjoined to abhor and eschew abortion, but they are not required to affirm that abortion is “the greatest destroyer of peace,” as MT fantastically asserted….

The Vatican was alarmed by her positions on abortion, divorce and contraception but could do little after Muggeridge’s work bestowed her with the stardom of piety on the global stage. And so it played along in her myth making.

University of Montreal’s research also uncovers a little-known fact about Mother Teresa: she had suffered from a personal crisis of faith at various points in her life. In her own words,

“For me, the silence and the emptiness is so great, that I look and do not see,—Listen and do not hear—the tongue moves but does not speak.” “Such deep longing for God—and … repulsed—empty—no faith—no love—no zeal.—[The saving of] Souls holds no attraction—Heaven means nothing.” “What do I labor for? If there be no God—there can be no Soul—if there is no Soul then Jesus—You also are not true” … So many unanswered questions live within me afraid to uncover them—because of the blasphemy—If there be God—please forgive me—When I try to raise my thoughts to Heaven—there is such convicting emptiness that those very thoughts return like sharp knives and hurt my very soul.—I am told God loves me—and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul. Did I make a mistake in surrendering blindly to the Call of the Sacred Heart?” [sic]

Fr Brian KolodiejchukIronically, this was unearthed by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk, the advocate appointed by Pope John Paul II to ascertain whether Mother Teresa could be canonised. Indeed, it was Father Brian, the Advocatus Dei (God’s Advocate) and not the Advocatus Diaboli (Devil’s Advocate) who declared her unfit for canonisation! The office of the Devil’s Advocate had been abolished by Pope John Paul II.

And so, by the Vatican’s own rules for canonisation, this fact of her questioning the faith should automatically disqualify Mother Teresa from being canonised. More damagingly, Archbishop D’Souza of Kolkata said that towards the end of her life, “her troubled and sleepless condition gave rise to such concern that she was subjected to an exorcism.”

Yet Pope Francis has given his green signal for her canonisation in September.

But there’s more.

Performing miracles is one of the huge bonuses that boosts one’s chances at being canonised. In Mother Teresa’s case, this materialised in the form of Monica Besra who claimed that a beam of light emerged from Mother Teresa’s picture and cured her of a cancerous tumour. However, it turned out that she had no cancerous tumour but a tubular cyst which was cured by prescription drugs, a fact confirmed by her physician Dr Ranjan Mustafi. Yet, the Vatican hasn’t interviewed Dr Mustafi but has upheld the “miracle” as true. And Pope Francis approved a second miracle in December 2015 which claims that in 2008, she cured a Brazilian man with multiple brain tumours “following the nun’s intercession.”

Which brings us back to Pope John Paul II who holds the record for canonising the maximum number of saints in the history of the Catholic Church. Total number of saints canonised from 1588 excluding those during John Paul II’s reign: 285. Total number of saints canonised by John Paul II: 480 in just 27 years.

John Paul II also simplified the Catholic Church’s established procedures for making saints. In Mother Teresa’s case, he shortened the beatification—the first step before canonisation—period. Until his time, a person could be nominated for beatification only after five years after his/her death. Mother Teresa was nominated for beatification just a year after her death, and was officially beatified in 2003.

John Paul II’s actions with respect to Mother Teresa needs to be viewed in a larger civilisational context. India is perhaps the only large nation in the world whose majority follows a non-Abrahamic religion: Hinduism.

John-Paul II: The Pope of Paedophiles.On Diwali 1999, John Paul II, known for his “fervor to expand the global influence of his Church” visited India and gave a call “to replenish the dwindling ranks of practicing Catholics in the West with Asian converts” by signing the Ecclesia in Asia, a document that exhorted the faithful for “reaping a great harvest of faith in Asia in the third Christian millennium.”

Christianity is all but dead in Europe, where church attendance is anywhere in the range of one or two per cent with several churches turning into pubs and restaurants. The additional threat of increasing Islamism, escalating Jihadi violence and frequent illegal immigration from Islamic countries is further pushing Christianity into oblivion.

Unlike the medieval Crusades, the Pope today doesn’t have the means or the authority, nor is the current political system in Europe structured to support the Christian religion in waging a physical war against Islam. And hence the lookout for newer places where the faith can find safe harbor by means of sustained conversions. With a population of 1.25 billion of which the majority is Hindu, India does offer an ample bounty.

Therefore, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to claim that Mother Teresa’s canonisation is part of the Vatican’s strategy to further deepen and widen its roots in India. For the large part, most Indians including non-Christians continue to uncritically accept—and even venerate—Mother Teresa as a saintly lady. An official canonisation would perhaps add additional muscle.

This should actually concern India: do we want to retain our civilisational roots that make India unique from the rest of the world or do we wish it to become a Christian outpost of the West like say, Philippines?

In the end, no one grudges Mother Teresa’s canonisation. But then given how the Vatican has itself violated its own long-established processes of canonisation, the whole spectacle is both ironical and tragic. We call upon Christopher Hitchens who, writing about her beatification in 2003 summed it up the best:

What is so striking about the “beatification” of the woman who styled herself “Mother” Teresa is the abject surrender, on the part of the Church, to the forces of showbiz, superstition, and populism.

— Firstpost, 21 March 2016

Pope Francis

See also

  1. Mother Teresa and her millions – Susan Shields & Walter Wuellenweber
  2. How Mother Teresa became a saint – Christopher Hitchens
  3. To many critics, Mother Teresa is still no saint – Adam Taylor
  4. Mother Teresa defended notorious paedophile priest – Nelson Jones
  5. Mother Teresa was “anything but a saint” say research scholars – Kounteya Sinha

Pope Francis has failed to punish child-abusing priests – AFP

Pope Francis
Vatican Sex Abuse Scandal“Francis has failed to definitively draw a line under decades of abuse which ruined the lives of tens of thousands of young Catholics and badly tarnished the standing of the Church in the eyes of believers and broader society.” – AFP

Many words, little action: three years after Pope Francis’s election, victims of priest sex abuse are bitter and disappointed, accusing the Church of having failed to punish guilty clerics and end a culture of complacency on the issue.

The recent Australian Royal Commission hearings of Vatican number three George Pell and a preliminary criminal probe into accusations that Lyon’s archbishop, Philippe Barbarin, covered up for a paedophile priest has put the question of Church complicity in abuse back at the top of the Vatican agenda.

Francis came to power promising a crackdown on cover-ups and a zero tolerance approach to abuse itself.

But victims still feel they are not been listened to, that bishops are still failing to hand criminal priests over to the appropriate authorities and that a conspiracy of silence remains the order of the day, right up to the top of the Vatican hierarchy.

The growing discontent with Francis’s record on ridding the Church of the taint of paedophilia is in sharp contrast with how he has performed in other areas.

As he prepares to celebrate Sunday’s third anniversary of his election, the Argentinian pontiff boasts genuine star status around the world thanks to his charismatic, simple style, his defence of the world’s poor and efforts to reform the Church and bring it closer to ordinary believers.

But despite an encouraging start, Francis has failed to definitively draw a line under decades of abuse which ruined the lives of tens of thousands of young Catholics and badly tarnished the standing of the Church in the eyes of believers and broader society.

Francis has made it clear bishops who cover up for abusers have no place in the Church and has put in place legal structures enabling paedophile priests to be tried under Vatican law. He also established his own advisory panel on the issue.

Peter SaundersBut the panel is now disintegrating with one prominent member, Peter Saunders, recently telling AFP he felt betrayed by Francis and that he had been tricked into taking part in what he described as a whitewashing exercise.

Francis won plaudits for meeting with victims in Rome and in Philadelphia during last year’s visit to the United States. But more recently he has come under fire for declining to repeat the gesture in Mexico or for the group that travelled from Australia to listen to Pell give evidence to the Royal Commission.

With the Oscar-winning film Spotlight further increasing public awareness of the abuse issue, “there is a real risk of this issue becoming the thorn in the foot of this papacy,” said Marco Politi, one of Francis’s biographers and a leading Vatican expert.

Politi said the “decisive test” of whether the Vatican hierarchy was serious about addressing the problem was whether Church authorities were truly willing to hand priests over to the criminal authorities. “Outside of cases where the judicial system gives them no option, the majority of bishoprics don’t want to talk about that.”

Ignazio Ingrao, Vatican correspondent for Italian weekly Panorama, said many local dioceses remained “incapable of moving beyond the secrecy mentality and the reflex of burying scandals.” He also noted that the Vatican’s ability to handle cases brought to its attention was severely compromised by staff shortages.

“I don’t doubt Francis’s desire to create a zero tolerance culture,” he added. “He has made it clear that the religious authorities must cooperate with civilian ones.”

John AllenDirect to the point of bluntness on other issues, Francis seems to have a “gut-level hesitation” when it comes to tackling the abuse issue, possibly fuelled by a belief that it is something he does not fully understand, suggested American Vatican expert John Allen in a column for www.cruxnow.com.

Andrea Tornielli, who writes for the website Vatican Insider and knows Francis well, says he does not detect any reticence to speak about the subject or when it comes to sanctioning offenders.

“The pope has spoken unequivocally, referring to diabolic sacrifices. He is trying to change the mentality,” Tornielli told AFP.

“One can very well understand the criticism levelled at him by victims and those close to them. But the most important task he has to accomplish is to create the conditions so that cover-ups do not happen ever again.” – IOL, 11 March 2016

Keith O'brien & Jimmy Savile

Britain’s most senior Catholic cleric Cardinal Keith O’Brien, who had to resign in 2013 because of inappropriate sexual contact with his priests, has been further exposed as a close friend of the BBC’s notorious paedophile television personality Jimmy Savile. Click image for story.

Jesus

French cardinal covered-up priest’s sexual abuse and rape of boy scouts – Barbie Latza Nadeau

Philippe Barbarin

Barbie Latza Nadeau“The 45 Scout victims who lodged the complaint that led to Preynat’s arrest share horrifically similar stories of abuse. ‘He would say ‘tell me you love me’. And then he would say ‘you’re my little boy,’ ‘it’s our secret, you mustn’t tell anyone,’ one of Preynat’s victims said, according to criminal trial reports.” – Barbie Latza Nadeau

Bernard PreynatFor all those who say that the Catholic Church is doing all it can on clerical child sex abuse—namely the Vatican press office—there is yet another reason to doubt those lofty words. Meet the Archbishop of Lyon, Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who has denied he did anything wrong by hiding the well-known fact that Father Bernard Preynat was sexually abusing as many as 40 Catholic Scouts in France in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Preynat was relieved of his duties in the parish of Roanne in 2015 after admitting to the sex abuse. He was indicted on Jan. 27 on charges of “sexual abuse and rape of minors” and has admitted his crimes to the police.

The 45 Scout victims who lodged the complaint that led to Preynat’s arrest share horrifically similar stories of abuse. “He would say ‘tell me you love me’. And then he would say ‘you’re my little boy,’ ‘it’s our secret, you mustn’t tell anyone,’” one of Preynat’s victims said, according to criminal trial reports.

A victim named Pierre-Emmanuel Germain-Thill described to Euronews how the priest preyed on the young boys. “What shocked me the most was when he tried to put his tongue in my mouth. He stroked my genitals, I couldn’t avoid it,” Germain-Thill said, according to press reports.

“I wanted to run away, and at the same time, I didn’t know what to do, I was afraid that if I left that room, nobody would believe me.”

Another victim, Bertrand Virieux, told Euronews, “I remember the smell of sweat, I remember contact with clothes. I remember his wandering hands under my shirt, which held me tightly against him.”

Meanwhile, Cardinal Barbarin is facing criminal charges by a French secular court for “failing to report a crime” and “endangering the life of others,” which could carry a three-year prison sentence and fines up to €45,000. He maintains that he shouldn’t be accused at all because he eventually removed Preynat from parish work.

Never mind that the removal came nearly 15 years after his crimes were made known. After victims and their families came forward in 1991, Preynat was removed from parish duties for six months by the then-archbishop, who is now deceased. Yet despite having confessed to the crimes, Preynat was allowed to return to his active duties after he repented, meaning he had access to children despite admitting to being a pedophilic sex offender.

When Barbarin was appointed as archbishop, he even promoted the errant priest to an administrative position in 2007 where he was in charge of six dioceses filled with children, according to court documents quoted in the French press.

Barbarin, who is well liked in France despite his harsh stance against gay marriage (which he once predicted would pave the way to legalized incest), removed Preynat from the priesthood last August when secular authorities got involved—25 years after his crimes had first emerged.

The cardinal is now arguing that he should not be criminally charged because he was not archbishop at the time of Preynat’s crimes, and that he did eventually remove the priest from active duty. But it is not enough to remove an errant priest from a parish or even defrock him, argue victims groups. David Clohessy, head of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), says any child sex-abuse offender should be turned over to secular authorities immediately and should be remanded in prison whether they wear a clerical collar or not.

“Hundreds of bishops have been publicly exposed as having protected predators, endangered kids, deceiving parishioners, misleading police, destroying evidence, intimidating victims, threatening whistle-blowers, and discrediting witnesses and suffer no consequences,” Clohessy told The Daily Beast.

The Vatican has always rightly maintained that pedophiles are not restricted to the priesthood. But the difference has always been that abusers in every other sector, from education to medicine, almost always immediately face secular court justice. There are no other professional institutions that systematically hide predators from authorities to the same extent the Catholic Church does. As the Oscar-winning film Spotlight showed, the complicity of not only the clerics but often the entire community—under pressure from the powerful Catholic churches that support community activities and run schools—is why the cycle is still so hard to break, despite the Vatican’s efforts.

George PellThat’s why when cases like Barbarin’s make it to the secular court, they underscore just how rare that action is. And that’s why when Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse held Cardinal George Pell’s feet to the fire several weeks ago—for his alleged oversight of abuse in that country—victims were angry that it took so long to happen.

After Spotlight’s Oscar win, the Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi came out with guns blazing.

“The depositions of Cardinal Pell before the Royal Commission as part of its inquiry carried out by live connection between Australia and Rome, and the contemporary presentation of the Oscar award for best film to Spotlight, on the role of the Boston Globe in denouncing the cover-up of crimes by numerous pedophile priests in Boston (especially during the years 1960 to 1980) have been accompanied by a new wave of attention from the media and public opinion on the dramatic issue of sexual abuse of minors, especially by members of the clergy,” he said in a statement.

“The sensationalist presentation of these two events has ensured that, for a significant part of the public, especially those who are least informed or have a short memory, it is thought that the Church has done nothing, or very little, to respond to these terrible problems, and that it is necessary to start anew. Objective consideration shows that this is not the case.”

Lombardi went on to outline the various commissions and extensive work Francis and his two predecessors have accomplished, including meetings with survivors and the formation of guidelines and recommendations for clergy. But there was no mention of how the Church regularly reports its abusers to the secular justice system—primarily because it doesn’t. And there was little mention of the secular world at all beyond two references to “legal” procedures—one in Ireland and the other in Australia.

He also pointed to the Vatican’s new tribunal to try those accused of or affiliated with the cover-up of rampant sex abuse, along with an advisory committee on sex abuse, headed by Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Archbishop of Boston who replaced Cardinal Bernard Law, who resigned in shame in 2002 and whose blatant disregard for victims of sex abuse made him the central figure of Spotlight.

But as the Associated Press pointed out last week, the Vatican’s recent efforts are “going nowhere fast.” Jozef Wesolowski, the 67-year-old former papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic, who was the only person ever slated to face the tribunal, died suddenly in Vatican City before his trial began.

What’s most troubling in Barbarin’s case is that Pope Francis made promises last September during his American trip that he would see to it that any bishops who were involved in the cover-up would be forced to resign. “You must not cover up, and even those who covered up these things are guilty,” Francis told reporters on his plane back to Rome.

French Boy ScoutsSo why is Barbarin not being forced out? Preynat’s lawyer, Federic Doyez, told the French judge that Barbarin knew about the abuse. “The facts had been known by the church authorities since 1991,” he said.
An unidentified source close to Barbarin told the AFP that Francis was surely talking about someone else. “This comment does not in any way target Cardinal Barbarin who quite rightly suspended Father Preynat after meeting a first victim and taking advice from Rome, and this, even before a first official complaint was made.”

Victims groups will be watching the events closely to see if French justice will set a precedent for other countries. “The pope’s refusal to honor this promise is yet another reminder that keeping kids safe in the Catholic Church is a burden that increasingly falls on brave victims, secular authorities and church members—especially whistleblowers,” says Barbara Dorris, SNAP’s outreach director.

On the third anniversary of Pope Francis’s historic election, March 13, many will be praising the success and popularity of the pontiff. But three years into the job, it remains certain that the pope’s promise to do something about the continuing clerical abuse and cover-up leaves little to celebrate.  – The Daily Beast, 13 March 2016

» Barbie Latza Nadeau is an American correspondent for The Daily Beast based in Rome.

French Boy Scouts

Indian activists slam Vatican for revoking Fr Joseph Jeyapaul’s ban – Zee News

Joseph Jeyapaul

Indian priest pays $750,000.00

Dr Ranjana Kumari“The lifting of the suspension of Fr Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul amounts to the Church condoning his actions,” Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research, an NGO working on women`s and girls` rights, told AFP. – Zee News

Children`s activists in India on Wednesday criticised the Vatican for revoking the suspension of a Catholic priest who was convicted by a US court of sexually abusing a minor.

Indian priest Joseph Palanivel Jeyapaul, 61, was suspended by his local diocese in India five years ago after being accused of sexually abusing two girls during a posting to Minnesota.

He was later convicted of assaulting one of them, a 16-year-old, and served time in jail.

But the Vatican lifted his suspension in January following a recommendation by an Indian bishop.

“The lifting of the suspension amounts to the Church condoning his actions,” Ranjana Kumari, director of the Centre for Social Research, an NGO working on women`s and girls` rights, told AFP.

The decision was “totally unacceptable”, coming as the Vatican undertook to root out sexual abuse by the Church, she said.

Jeyapaul was accused of sexually abusing two girls while serving as a priest in Crookston Diocese in MinnesotaMegan Peterson between 2004 and 2005, but one victim dropped the charges against him.

The Diocese of Ooty in southern India`s Tamil Nadu state suspended him in 2010 before he was arrested by Interpol in 2012 and extradited to the US to face trial.

Following a plea deal, Roseau County district court sentenced him to a year in jail but he was released and deported to India in June 2015 on account of time served while awaiting trial.

Sebastian Selvanathan, a spokesman for Ooty diocese, said that while the Vatican had lifted Jeyapaul`s suspension, the priest would not return to service.

“We have provided him accommodation but he will not have any active role in the Church,” Selvanathan told AFP.

The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, a US group, has urged the Church to warn the public about Jeyapaul`s past and expressed concern over his presence in India.

“We worry now about the safety of girls in India near Fr Jeyapaul,” the group said on its website.

Local police said they would collect more information on the disgraced priest but said he was not under watch. – Zee News, 17 February 2016

Jeff Anderson & Mike Finnegan

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