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

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

USCIRF gets its comeuppance from Modi Sarkar – Radha Rajan

USCIRF Catholic Team

Radha Rajan is the editor of Vigil Online“National security is threatened not only when our borders are threatened by foreign invaders in conventional war, but when our homes, communities and societies are threatened by religious invaders and terrorists. Christian missionaries and Islamic terrorists threaten Hindus and Hindu society. The right to revenge is as much the prerogative of Hindus as it is of the US. So USCIRF cannot preach to India what America has never practiced.” – Radha Rajan

United States Commission on International Religious FreedomModi Sarkar gladdened the hearts of Hindu nationalists when it refused to give visas to a company of American sewage inspectors called USCIRF which wanted to come to India to inspect the state of religious freedom in Modi’s India. The USCIRF bared its fangs in 2002 when the BJP led by Atal Behari Vajpayee was in power. The opening paragraph of a news report featured on the front page of The Hindu dated 2nd October, 2002, titled “Designate India, Pakistan as countries of particular concern,” reads thus: “The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has recommended that the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, designate India, along with others, as ‘Countries of Particular Concern’ under the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.”

According to this news report, the USCIRF was reacting to “periodic violence” against the religious minorities of the country, violence which has been on the increase because of the “rise in political influence of groups associated with the Sangh Parivar, a collection of Hindu extremist nationalist organizations that views non-Hindus as foreign to India and hence deserving of attack.”

This was a Freudian slip. “Hindu extremist nationalist organizations” is American verbose for RSS and significantly “nationalist” is pronounced in the same breath as “extremist”. It is a Freudian slip which exposed the open secret that America through the USCIRF and the Vatican were working in tandem to promote the cause of Jesus Christ. These were the exact words of Pope John Paul II when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly in 1995: “… extreme nationalism does not continue to give rise to new forms of the aberrations of totalitarianism.” The Vatican set the precedent of speaking of nationalism in the same breath as extremism.

Modi Sarkar’s crackdown on foreign funds to NGOs, the government’s crackdown on Greenpeace and Ford Foundation has obviously rattled the white Christian world and expectedly, America brandished the USCIRF on India’s face. RSS, BJP and Narendra Modi will always be Military Industrial Complex’s anti-Christ and the USCIRF is just one puny weapon against Hindu India. In a replay of its 2002 report, the USCIRF in 2016 laments:

Robert P. George“We are deeply disappointed by the Indian government’s denial, in effect, of these visas. As a pluralistic, non-sectarian, and democratic state, and a close partner of the United States, India should have the confidence to allow our visit, Robert P. George, Chairman of USCIRF, a bipartisan body, said.

“USCIRF will continue to pursue a visit to India, given the ongoing reports from religious communities, civil society groups, and NGOs that the conditions for religious freedom in India have been deteriorating since 2014,” Mr George said. The annual report of USCIRF documents and categorises countries based on their religious freedom record. In 2015, the report had criticised India and had named BJP and affiliated bodies.

“Incidents of religiously-motivated and communal violence reportedly have increased for three consecutive years. The states of Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Odisha, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan tend to have the greatest number of religiously-motivated attacks and communal violence incidents. Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and religious leaders, including from the Muslim, Christian, and Sikh communities, attributed the initial increase to religiously-divisive campaigning in advance of the country’s 2014 general election. Since the election, religious minority communities have been subject to derogatory comments by politicians linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and numerous violent attacks and forced conversions by Hindu nationalist groups, such as Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP),” the report had said. (Reference)

The U.S was understandably incensed. Modi’s Hindu India was refusing to genuflect before all things American and rejection was bitter medicine. After all, the Italian Roman Catholic Sonia Gandhi led UPA had taken the unprecedented step of inviting the USCIRF to visit Gujarat and Orissa to write officious reports on religious freedom. The Vatican’s Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran was issued a visa to come to Mumbai for an inter-religious dialogue (whatever that means) in June 2009. The Gujarati padre Cedric Prakash was so emboldened by Sonia Gandhi’s ascendance in Indian politics that he dared to make the foolish claim that Narendra Modi must win the approval of western nations (read US) to become Prime Minister of India, and that the USCIRF visit has been welcomed by Gujaratis in America who want the US State Department to remove Modi from their anti-Christ list and give him a visa to the US!

To be told now by Modi Sarkar that they were not welcome brought the USCIRF sand castle down with a whine.

In 2002 when I read the USCIRF report my first impulse was to consign it to the trash can. And I would have, had this been the ranting of some American Southern Baptist group or some disgruntled Christian or Marxist NGO in one of their periodic diatribes against the RSS and the rising religious and political consciousness of the Hindus of this country; or the ranting of the Generic Church funded anti-Hindu human rights industry.

But this was the ranting of a statutory body of the US government, a Commission that was constituted by law, a Commission (which is however allegedly non-governmental), whose members work closely with the American State Department. The Commission is headed by the Ambassador-at Large and he is the Special Adviser to the US President and to the US Secretary of State on International Religious Freedom. And so, the very least that a native of a developing third world nation, whose country has been stood in the dock by this “damning indictment” can do, when faced by the impertinence of foreign busybodies, is to respond to this nonsense with a modicum of seriousness.

The smoking gun!The USCIRF hit list

In the first three years of its existence, from 1998 to 2001, the entire focus of the Commission is on China, Vietnam, Laos, Sudan and Burma. And these countries continue to remain on the hit list of this Commission not only because these countries are ruled either by Communist governments or by the military junta as in the case of Burma, but more interestingly, these countries have a marked antipathy towards Christianity and Christian missionaries. Contrary to the pious statements of this Commission that it is concerned about the lack of freedom of religion in these countries, and that its heart bleeds for the Buddhists and the Falun Gong, it is the refusal to allow Christian missionaries to operate in these countries that has incurred the wrath of this Commission.

The list then expands to include Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, and now Pakistan and India. Please note there is a deafening silence on the Good Taliban/Bad Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 1998, despite strong protests from women’s groups in the USA about the Taliban’s treatment of women in Afghanistan. Of course, this silence has nothing to do with the fact that major American oil and gas companies were talking to the Taliban in the hope that the terrorists would agree to let them build pipelines across Afghanistan to transport oil and gas from the Central Asian republics. The alternative was Iran, but then Iran would have laughed the Americans out of town. So that was ruled out. The US needed Afghanistan and the Taliban came as a package deal.

The USCIRF and its rationale

The USCIRF was constituted in 1998 because the US had no international agenda at that time to project its superpower status. The WTO had become a reality, the Taliban were around, but the USA needed pipelines across Afghanistan more than it wanted freedom of religion from the Taliban. The Soviet Union had disappeared, the people of Iraq were being subjected to slow and unexciting genocide by US enforced and UN sanctioned total economic blockade and the US had no excitement that real cloak and dagger stuff can give to its national life.

Because 9/11 was still three years down the line and the invasion and occupation of Iraq as American pastime entertainment was still in the future, America was spoiling for a fight and so it discovered International Religious Freedom. The US passed the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998 and soon after it also constituted the Commission for IRF by law. The rationale for the Act is best expressed by the Act itself: SEC. 2. FINDINGS; POLICY.

Seal of the United States(a) FINDINGS—Congress makes the following findings:

(1) The right to freedom of religion undergirds the very origin and existence of the United States. Many of our Nation’s founders fled religious persecution abroad, cherishing in their hearts and minds the ideal of religious freedom. They established in law, as a fundamental right and as a pillar of our Nation, the right to freedom of religion. From its birth to this day, the United States has prized this legacy of religious freedom and honoured this heritage by standing for religious freedom and offering refuge to those suffering religious persecution.

I will come to this hilarious self-description of “pillar of our nation” in just a while, but it will be interesting to see what triggered this pious decision to monitor international religious freedom in the rest of the world. There are two major causes for the US’ sudden love for religious freedom.

First: Religion was coming back in a big way in the former Soviet Union and in Russia, Belarus, and the Ukraine, in Georgia and Armenia the Church was once again becoming a force and an influence to contend with. While all these republics were Christian, none of them acknowledge the supremacy of the Vatican. Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Serbia are Eastern Orthodox while in Armenia, the Armenian Apostolic Church is in communion with Eastern Orthodox Church and Georgia too while Catholic, was not Roman Catholic.

They all had their own national churches and the hierarchy too was national. These republics refused to allow the Vatican, American and European churches, Catholic and Protestant, to open shop in their territories. Indeed, the climate was distinctly hostile to the expansionist designs of the Vatican and the American and European churches in the vulnerable soil of these fledgling nation-states. This of course incensed the US and the Vatican.

Second: Rapidly declining numbers of their flock in the West had the Vatican and the American and European churches looking for new territories to conquer, new peoples to evangelise and convert. They all turned their attention on Asia. On Easter’s eve in 1996, Pope John Paul II led 20,000 Roman Catholics in an Easter vigil at St. Peter’s Basilica. “In his homily John Paul II spoke specifically of Asia after having previously denounced discrimination against Catholics in Vietnam and China. He spoke of ‘the great desire of Christ and the Church to meet the populations and cultures of that immense continent, rich in history and noble traditions. You constitute in a certain way the answer of nations to the new evangelization,’ he said.”

The Vatican and Asia

The Vatican had decided that in the third millennium the Church would plant the cross in Asia and harvest the souls of the non-Christian and non-Muslim peoples of Asia—the Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and peoples of other non-proselytizing faiths that originated in India. To this end, a Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Asia was held in April/May of 1998 in the Vatican.

The Vietnamese government, as early as in January 1998 had refused permission to its bishops to attend the Synod. By April, China too had refused permission to the bishops in China and Taiwan to attend the Synod. On May 14th, a mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica brought to a close the work of the Special Assembly for Asia of the Synod of Bishops. According to Fides the Vatican news agency, “At the end of his homily, the Holy Father voiced his intention to visit Asia in the near future to present the post-synodal exhortation. This led to excited discussion among the Synod fathers about possible places for the visit. In the end they suggested a journey with three laps: Bombay, Manila, Hong Kong. Others suggested Jerusalem, Beijing, Calcutta, Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo or Baghdad.”

The intention of the Vatican was clear. It intended for the Pope to make a high-profile visit to deliver the post-synodal exhortation in one of the Asian countries—China, Vietnam, India or Japan—countries where the majority of the population is non-Christian—Hindus or Buddhists. China of course and Vietnam too, promptly refused to allow the Pope to come visiting them. In India too there was growing awareness and unease about the intentions of the churches of the world to aggressively convert the Hindus, Buddhists and Sikhs to the Christian religion and the Hindus were organizing themselves not only to expose the intentions of the Vatican and the American and European churches, but also to resist, militantly if need be, any and all attempts at religious conversion.

John Paul IIThe duplicity of the Vatican and the US 

One must see the US’ sudden love for international religious freedom against this background—of Asia’s growing hostility to Western trade war through globalization and Christian missionary activities, both of which historically have always acted in tandem. Pope John Paul II succeeded to the papacy precisely because he was Polish and Poland was the weakest link in the Soviet bloc—Roman Catholics like the people of Croatia and not Eastern Orthodox like Serbia or Russia. The Polish Pope John Paul II succeeded to the papacy because his mandate was clear—to exert pressure on the weakest link—on Poland and bring about the collapse of communism and consequently the Soviet Union.

The calculation being when communism fails, the West can step in with its IMF and the World Bank and capitalism and free market, and when the Soviet Union disappeared it would also signal the end of the already weakened and debilitated Eastern Orthodox Church and the Vatican can step in to open shop. A dream the West and the Vatican had nurtured and pursued unceasingly for more than five decades. They succeeded only partially. Communism failed, the Soviet Union disintegrated, but the Eastern Orthodox Church rose like the phoenix and reacted ferociously to the Vatican and other western churches attempting to open their industry in these territories.

One must also see the antipathy of the USA, the West and the Vatican to China, Vietnam, and Serbia in this context. While the USA passed the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998, the seeds of the Act were sown cleverly in 1995 itself, to coincide with the creation of the WTO, when Pope John Paul II was invited to address the UN General Assembly on 5 October 1995, to mark the 50th year of the UN. And he devoted his entire talk to the rights of people to freedom, to human rights, to the rights of nations to come into being and to exist (a call for enabling the fructifying of movements for self-determination, a forewarning of the creation of Croatia, East Timor).

It is one of the cleverest, most cunning speeches ever made. Every sentence should be read to mean that he is talking only of Christian interests, Christian political and religious rights. Wherever he appeals for diversity, he is appealing to those nations and peoples who are non-Christian to allow the Christian faith with its missionary agenda, to exist, to grow. And for the first time, the Church, and immediately thereafter American think tanks, begin to make a distinction between ‘patriotism’ which is in their view, positive, and ‘nationalism’ which in their view is negative, because it is synonymous with protectionism and shuts its doors on the face of religious and economic invaders.

One of the reasons cited by the US for constituting the USCIRF is: “Though not confined to a particular region or regime, religious persecution is often particularly widespread, systematic, and heinous under totalitarian governments and in countries with militant, politicized religious majorities.”

This is an accurate paraphrase of the Pope’s UNGA address in 1995 where he invents his own definition of nationalism and patriotism thus: “We need to clarify the essential difference between an unhealthy form of nationalism, which teaches contempt for other nations or cultures, and patriotism, which is a proper love of one’s country. True patriotism never seeks to advance the well-being of one’s own nation at the expense of others. For in the end, this would harm one’s own nation as well. Doing wrong damages both aggressor and victim. Nationalism, in its most radical form, is thus the antithesis of true patriotism, and today we must ensure that extreme nationalism does not continue to give rise to new forms of the aberrations of totalitarianism.”

USCIRF’s  hostile intent in 2002 when the BJP was in power in Delhi and its hostile intent now in 2016, when the BJP is in power again in Delhi must be seen as the Generic Church’s fear and antipathy for nationalism—in this case Hindu nationalism.

Patriotism, nationalism and all that crap

Now let us apply the Pope’s yardstick of “true patriotism” and “extreme nationalism” to religion, to Christianity and the Church specifically. If the Pope were indeed sincere about his call for allowing diversity to exist, about his devout respect for all cultures and traditions, he will acknowledge that all cultural values and traditions derive from the religion and faith of the people.

The US, USCIRF and the Generic Church must explain the basis for religious conversion and the determination of the Vatican to convert all peoples of the world to the Christian faith, to the Catholic faith to be exact. Will this allow for diversity, will this express respect for other cultures and traditions? Is this not an agenda for homogenization and does this not violate the principle of the right to existence of other religions and faiths? Has the Pope not learnt anything from the destruction and the total annihilation of the religions of the Native Americans and the Africans by the Church?

The West, of course, is rediscovering “nationalism” and is now beginning to understand the need for protectionism when globalization opened the borders of their countries to immigration. Now they realise how important it is to preserve their white Christian culture and way of life from the onslaught of third world natives and Muslim migrants. So while the USA and the West want Asians to open their borders to their capital and goods, and throw open the doors of our societies and homes to Christian missionaries, they frown upon religious and economic nationalism a.k.a. protectionism. They however want to clamp down on immigration, shut their borders to Asians, Africans and Syrian and other Middle East Muslim refugees to rediscover what it is to be American, British, German and French.

Our respect for the culture of others is therefore rooted in our respect for each community’s attempt to answer the question of human life. And here we can see how important it is to safeguard the fundamental right to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, as the cornerstones of the structure of human rights and the foundation of every truly free society. No one is permitted to suppress those rights by using coercive power to impose an answer to the mystery of man.”

The irony of it all! The last line can be understood better if we know that the Vatican believes that the Catholic faith alone is the repository of all truth and it alone has the answer to the mystery of man. So when the Pope talks of coercive power and the use of coercive power to impose an answer, he is referring to regimes and governments which have refused the Vatican and Christianity even a toe-hold in their countries—China, Vietnam, Japan, Burma (Myanmar), and of course the Asian Islamic nations of Malaysia and Indonesia where to proselytize and distribute Christian propaganda material is a crime. What the Pope is in fact demanding is the Christian right to propagate, evangelise and carry out individual and mass conversions in Asian countries with very large non-Christian populations.

Obama has a Christian agenda for South AsiaThe deep pocket of human rights

The seeds for an intrusive and aggressive foreign policy eroding national sovereignty were sown as early as in the late 1980s and in the 1990s decade with the USA, the West, the Vatican and the European churches, which collectively I label the Generic Church, acting in tandem. Concrete shape for renewed aggression by the USA against the nations of Asia is given through the inequitable WTO and the designing of the deep pocket called “human rights.” It is a pocket deep enough to yield several agendas demanding unilateral or multilateral interference into domestic national affairs. Human rights can accommodate right to freedom of conscience, freedom of religion, women’s rights, children’s rights, rights of labour, right to self-determination, right to—the list can be made as endless as the US wants.

But the striking absence of right to freedom from racial discrimination and the right to participatory democracy has not been noticed it would seem. The US is yet to begin the process of participatory democracy. The highest offices of this land of the brave and the home of the free are reserved for the white/Christian (Protestant)/male—President Barack Obama who bucked the White House trend is half white and half African, half Christian and half Muslim. As long as women, African American Christians and Muslims, Native Americans and Jews and American Indian Hindus do not get elected to the White House, the USCIRF should deny itself the luxury of pointing fingers at India. By this single act of commission alone, the US is guilty of several counts of religious and racial intolerance, undemocratic, and violator of all freedoms.

The US owes us an explanation now. Is the USCIRF empowered to monitor religious freedom only in the rest of the world or is it empowered to monitor systemic denial of religious rights within the USA too? Because there are enough documents to prove denial of the right to practice the rituals of their faith by Native American students in some American universities.

The US and USCIRF also owe the world an explanation on their silence and polite looking the other way when the Taliban incarcerated the women and children of Afghanistan in their homes. Now is the time to deal with the “pillar of our nation” joke. All of you, who are not averse to waging this intellectual war against our adversaries, must read without fail two books: A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas 1492 to the Present by Ward Churchill and American Holocaust: The Conquest of the New World by David E. Stannard. Once you have read these two books, it is difficult to listen to or read anything the Pope or the USA is saying about freedom and human rights and democracy and pluralism without rolling on the ground in laughter.

“Religious freedom—the pillar of our nation”

What was that again? “The right to freedom of religion undergirds the very origin and existence of the United States. Many of our Nation’s founders fled religious persecution abroad, cherishing in their hearts and minds the ideal of religious freedom. They established in law, as a fundamental right and as a pillar of our Nation, the right to freedom of religion.”

Now let us see what these noble nation’s founders, “who fled religious persecution abroad,” did to the Native Americans in the name of the Church and Christianity, in the name of religion. There is an encyclical by the Pope in the 15th century severely condemning the genocide of Native Americans. The Pope says that as long as these barbaric natives are fit to receive the message of Christ, their lives should be spared and should be elevated into the service of Christ.

From then on begins the savage christianising of the Native Americans. They are driven like so much cattle into Christian missions and there they are put to hard labour by the priests who think hard labour is good for the soul of Native Americans. They thought the same thing about the Africans whom they transported into North America later. Hard labour is always good for the non-white, non-Christian peoples of the world, particularly if the labour is for furthering the trade and economy of white Christian colonising nations.

In the words of Ward Churchill: “In actuality, the missions were death-mills in which Indians, often delivered en masse by the military, were allotted an average of seven feet by two feet of living space in what one observer described as ‘specially constructed cattle pens’. Although forced to perform arduous agricultural labour by the priests from morning to night, six days a week, the captives were provided no more than 1400 calories per day in low nutrient foods, with missions like San Antonio and San Miguel supplying as little as 715 calories per day.”

Probably most remarkable in this regard is Fray Junipero Serra in charge of the northern California mission complex during its peak period, and a man whose personal brutality was noteworthy even by those standards (he appears to have delighted in the direct torture of victims, had to be restrained from hanging Indians in lots, a la Columbus, and is quoted as asserting that the entire race of Indians should be put to the knife).

Having been canonized a saint by the Catholic Church, Serra’s visage, forty feet tall, today peers serenely down upon motorists driving south from San Francisco along Highway 101 from its vantage point on a prominent bluff. Another statue of Serra, a much smaller bronze which has stood for decades before San Francisco’s city hall, is being moved to a park.

Officials denied requests from local Native Americans that it be placed in storage, out of public view, however, offering the compromise of affixing a new plaque to address native concerns about the incipient saint’s legacy. (Hindus of India and Jews of the world please note, ‘Mother’ Teresa and ‘Hitler’s Pope’ are both all set to be canonized as the new saints of the twentieth century in the Catholic pantheon, a gesture of gratitude for services rendered in the cause of furthering the Catholic Church in difficult times and in difficult climes). Church lobbyists however have undermined even that paltry gesture, preventing the inclusion of wording which might have revealed something of the true nature of the mass murder and cultural demolition over which Serra presided. Both man and mission, the Vatican insisted, were devoted to ‘‘mercy and compassion.”

In passing this Act on International Religious Freedom, the US is basing its case on the noble founders of the nation, on “the pillars of our nation”—a nation that was built on the blood and sweat of genocide and slavery—both of which were practiced in the name of the Christian faith!

Tribals from various states of India hold placards during a protest against Christian missionaries in New Delhi in 2011. The demonstrators appealed to authorities to protect the culture of indigenous people, claiming that evangelical Christian missionaries are forcing them to convert to Christianity.What is right for you, is right for me

The US has set several precedents post September 11—precedents worthy of emulation: The right to revenge, the right to pre-emptive strikes when faced with threats to national security, the right to demonstrative nationalism/protectionism. The USCIRF must ask itself why other religious minorities in India, the Parsis, the Sikhs, the Buddhists and Jains never face the problems that Christians and Muslims in India face at the hands of “Hindu extremists”? Why did the US carpet bomb Iraq and Afghanistan?

National security is threatened not only when our borders are threatened by foreign invaders in conventional war, but when our homes, communities and societies are threatened by religious invaders and terrorists. Christian missionaries and Islamic terrorists threaten Hindus and Hindu society. The right to revenge is as much the prerogative of Hindus as it is of the US. So USCIRF cannot preach to India what America has never practiced.

As for their litany about rising Hindu extremism/nationalism threatening the secular, pluralistic, democratic fibre of the country, and all that, the Indian State is democratic and secular. The Indian nation is not. The Indian nation, like most nations of the world, is religious. And the rich diversity, not pluralism, which is inherent in Hindu worldview, has been a living tradition for over two thousand years, when the first Christian and Muslim missionaries/traders/invaders begin to appear in our country, not because of the USCIRF or the UN or the Indian Constitution or the Human rights industry, but because this nation is a timeless civilization.

It has existed for centuries because the nation was Hindu. The Hindu thought is assimilatory, not exclusivist like the Abrahamic faiths. And it is this nation which is being threatened by the missionary activities of Christian fundamentalists and the secessionist activities of Islamic fundamentalists. The Hindus have survived 600 years of Muslim barbarism, 200 years of savage colonialism. We survived violent partition in 1947, and we are living with the twin monsters of ascendant jihadi Islam and extremist evangelical church—both monsters which were fed and fattened by Sonia Gandhi and her foreign masters.

Hindus have the right to exist, the right to protect their faith, the right to territory, the right to defend their women and children, the right to their unique worldview powered by Dharma, right to revenge and the right to pre-emptive strikes against their aggressors.

NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds: Anti-National IndustryClosing Word

Readers are invited to visit www.vigilonline.com to read the path-breaking book NGOs, Activists and Foreign Funds: Anti-nation Industry which is a veritable who’s who (polite for Rogue’s Gallery) of all anti-Indian forces which come in different packages, with different names, in different contexts. The PDF version of the book is here.

The USCIRF held a special meeting on the Gujarat riots and all the usual suspects were wined and dined by America to provide grist for its anti-Hindu mill; Appendices 7 and 8 deal with the USCIRF. Incidentally, in the chapter “Singing for their Supper” readers will meet the original didi, Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande who too was wined and dined by the US State Department.     

Nirmala DeshpandeIndian activist takes Bush to task

David Scafenberg, Sentinel Staff Writer, Excerpt from India Abroad (September 5, 2003): Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande pulls no punches at meetings with administration officials—complains US reaction to Gujarat riots was not strong enough. Deshpande, 74, pointed to the lack of a strong reaction from US Govt. to the sectarian carnage in Gujarat, which she said was state sponsored. She lamented the victims had not seen justice either through the police or judicial systems. At the State Dept., Deshpande—known for her campaigns covering thousands of miles with the likes of freedom fighter Vinoba Bhave—met with Diana Barnes, Foreign Affairs Officer, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor. At the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, she met with Patricia Carley, a senior policy analyst. She met with staffers of the hierarchy of the Congressional Caucus on India and Indian-Americans, addressed a community meeting at University of Maryland and interacted with the media. She said part of her trip would be to convince non-resident Indians and the Indian-American community not to contribute to the extremist groups. “We would like to make our friends aware of the reality and those who subscribe to these views that if you really love India, you should not do anything that would harm India. What these people are doing in Gujarat and trying to do in other states will harm India in a very big way.” Her trip is being sponsored by NRIs for Secular and Harmonious India. In Washington, she was accompanied to the meetings by John Prabhudoss, Executive Director, Policy Institute for Religion and State, and Kaleem Kawaja, coordinator, NRIs for a Secular and Harmonious India.

Indians who depose before the US State Department or before the USCIRF are anti-national, period. They squeal against their own countrymen, they express to a foreign Government their distrust of their country’s democratic institutions, they abuse their country’s police and armed forces, and they wail, “Indian democracy is in peril, come and save us.” And if you are Arundhati Roy, you will add, “Me slave, you king”, for better effect. Some of these anti-national Indian informers actually think it is an honour to be summoned to appear before the US Government to squeal against their country. Professor Sumit Ganguly, University of Texas, who also passes himself off as ‘expat journalist’ has appeared more than once before the USCIRF and his opening sentence at one such appearance in September 2000 was, “I consider it an honour and a privilege to be asked to testify before this Commission today.” Now, this kind of slavish deference must have been music to American ears and they summoned the good and willing professor again in 2002. The USCIRF held a special hearing on “Communal violence in Gujarat, India and the US response” and those that were summoned to depose and those that appeared obediently before their masters on June 10, 2002 were Teesta Setalvad, Professor Kamal Mitra Chenoy, Professor Sumit Ganguly and Father Cedric Prakash. The URL of the proceedings of this hearing is presented to readers in Appendix 7 and is a must-read for the sheer anti-nation, anti-Hindu intent not only of the Indians who deposed before an alien government but for the anti-India, anti-Hindu intent of the USCIRF itself. The comments made by the commissioners about India are an unmitigated piece of impertinence. Didi Deshpande, let us not forget, deposed before the US Government in September 2003. Neither the USCIRF nor the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor ever felt compelled to hold a hearing on the genocide of the Hindus of Kashmir or the ongoing violence and acts of terror by Christian terrorists in the North-East and Muslim terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir. Readers will note that these anti-national Indian worthies while auditing their country and its democratic institutions before the Americans also shed a few obligatory and insincere tears for the Hindus of Bangladesh! Not a tear for the Hindus at home—those that were killed and terrorised to flee from the state of Jammu and Kashmir, for the Hindu women and children killed in the Sabarmati Express in Godhra or for the Hindu victims of the Mumbai blasts and riots. – Vigil Online, 7 March 2016

Protest outside US Embassy, New Delhi

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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