Friday, December 1, 2006

L.A. archdiocese settles 45 abuse cases

By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer

LOS ANGELES - The nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese said Friday it has agreed to pay $60 million to settle 45 lawsuits alleging sex abuse by priests. The deal is the most significant step to date toward resolving extensive litigation against the archdiocese that has dragged on for years.

"I pray that the settlement of the initial group of cases will help the victims involved to move forward with their lives and to build a brighter future for themselves and their families," Cardinal Roger Mahony said in a news release.

Negotiations for the settlement of the uninsured cases have been in progress for at least a year.

Ray Boucher, the lead plaintiff's attorney, said the settlement involved 22 priests and was the largest settlement the Los Angeles archdiocese had reached "by far." He said more than $50 million would come from the archdiocese and about $8 million from religious orders.

"I wasn't certain we would ever get it done, but thankfully 45 very injured people will have a change to begin to heal, particularly at this time of the year," he said.

The Los Angeles archdiocese still faces more than 500 lawsuits from people who allege they were abused by about 200 priests and laypeople dating as far back as the 1930s.

The payout is the second-largest in California, behind the Diocese of Orange's 2004 agreement to spend $100 million to settle 90 abuse claims. It is also one of the fourth-largest in the nation since the clergy abuse crisis erupted in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2002, according to an Associated Press review.

Sex abuse by Roman Catholic priests has cost the U.S. church at least $1.5 billion since 1950. Several American dioceses have reached multimillion-dollar settlements with victims in the last few years, as bishops have tried to resolve the crisis and move on.

Four dioceses — Tucson, Ariz.; Spokane, Wash.; Portland, Ore., and Davenport, Iowa — sought bankruptcy protection from a flood of lawsuits. Tucson has emerged from the process.

Settlement talks have been under way in the remaining California cases since 2002, when legislators passed a state law that suspended for one year the statute of limitations for sexual abuse claims.

Nearly 1,000 people filed claims against the Roman Catholic Church in California under that law.

from CDoW Dialog: Bishop dedicates Advent to victims of clergy sex abuse

Bishop Saltarelli has dedicated this year’s Advent season to victims of clergy sexual abuse and their families, asking that they be remembered in prayers, Masses and other observances.
The bishop’s action comes on the heels of his release Nov. 16 of the names of 20 priests found
to have sexually abused minors.

Advent begins Sunday, Dec. 3, and ends Christmas Eve. The bishop has asked pastors to celebrate a special Advent prayer service or Mass dedicated to the healing of victims and their
families and to include the victims in a petition in the prayer of the faithful at every Mass in Advent. “The Advent season, where we remember Our Lord’s Incarnation and anticipate the second coming of Christ, is a time of hope,” the bishop said in a statement. “This season of
hope and expectation is an ideal time for us to intensify our prayers together for the healing of victims of clergy sexual abuse and victims of sexual abuse in general.

We also pray for parents, spouses, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, extended family and friends of victims who have carried a variety of painful crosses that are connected to their
loved one’s experience of sexual abuse.” The bishop acknowledged the publicizing of the priests’
names in a letter Monday to all priests of the diocese. “The release of names as well as all of our many efforts to protect God’s children,” he wrote, “must be complemented by these spiritual
efforts on behalf of victims and their families.”

civil war in Iraq

Recently many people, including many highly respected people and corporations, have come out saying, contrary to what the W administration has said, that Iraq is in civil war. Now, generally, in my opinion the W administration has done very little right, except make political appointments, which, with a few exceptions, have almost all been good. However in this case I must agree with the W administration, this is not a civil war, except I don't agree with the administration for the reasons that you might think.

To be a civil war there must be a legitiamate government force and there must be an organized force trying to overthrow the government. Now there are roughly four sides currently in the Iraq war - the U.S., the Maliki Iraqis, the Sunni Iraqis, and the Shia Iraqis. Not to mention all of the little sub-factions present in Iraq.

To start with the "rebellion" force is far from organized - the rebellion has two or three factions if not more. Second, I do not think that the Maliki Iraqis are a legitiamate government. They have only been in power for a few months, they're largely supported by the Americans and Allies, and they I don't think that they are recognized by the Iraqis as being a legitiamate goverment. Its not really my decision as to whether or not the Maliki government is legitiamate or not, it is the decision of the Iraqi people.

The last decendant of Julius Caesar to rule Rome was Nero Claudius Caesar Drusus Germanicus - Nero. Following him were three or four short term "emperor" - each ruled for a few months only. Then after two years and four leaders Flavian Vespasian ascended the throne followed by four of his decendants. But by the time that AD150 rolled either the Flavians were weakening or they were outright replaced.

Were the short-term emperors legitiamate emperors - well they certainly thought so. But they probably spent as much time trying to solidify their power base as they did trying to learn the Imperial Roman Goverment.

take care,


Thursday, November 30, 2006

Militant Moderate Front

I was actually thinking of starting a blog a year or two years ago except calling it "Militant Moderate Front" - se la vie. It'd be hard for a practicing Catholic to not be moderate - we must be both compassionate to the needy and opposed to abortion. We must be both tolerant / accepting of minorities and we are obligated to have a standard for our own lives.

Now I've already said that it is my opinion that any Catholic needs to attend mass at last once a month. They also need to attend a majority of the Days of Obligation. If they don't do that then they shouldn't call themselves Catholic. Now the Church has more lenient rules. But to say the least, that if you are and the verge of becoming lapsed, the Church has already spoken (in AD1215 at the end of the Lateran-4 Council) as to when a Catholic becomes lapsed.

It would be hard for a "good" Conservative to be Catholic - because they must have the attitude of "pulling yourself up by your boot straps" (shouldn't everyone), which can border on being heartless. Likewise, it would be hard for a "good" Liberal to be Catholic, because of abortion and acceptance of homosexuals.

Not that homosexual lust is a sin, America magazine, a Jesuit publication, quoted the USCCB in their November 27 issue (on page six) that homosexual lust is not a sin. On the other hand, and I paraphrase here, for a guy to pick up another guy or for a girl to pick up another girl is a sin. I don't entirely agree. But lust certainly is a symptom of what can certainly lead to other sins (in both the homo- and hetero-sexual communities).

Now I may have already typed this or something very much like it - I had some computer problems earlier. For fifteen or twenty years Delaware had the "big four" - Senator Roth, Senator Biden, Congressman / Governor Carper, and Governor / Congressman Castle - two Republicans and two Democrats. At their peak the four of them had over 150 years of statewide elected experience. Then Tom Carper was running against Roth and, while campaigning, Bill passed out twice. Delaware voters said, basically, "We love you Bill, its time to retire."

take care,


Joe Lieberman

Have patience, I know that Senator Lieberman is Jewish - let me explain.

My main point is that it would be hard for a "good" Catholic to not be Moderate. They must be into charity and giving to the needy. Yet, they must be pro-life. Similarly it would be hard for a "good" Conservative to not have abandoned portions of the Church - because of the need to be compassionate and to be charitable to the poor. Likewise, it would be a hard for a "good" Liberal to not have abandoned part of the Church because of abortion and because of homosexuality.

That's one of the comical parts of life to myself. Conservatives consider all Democrats to be Liberal and Liberals consider all Republicans to be Conservative (or Neo-Con, more recently). Both sides have completely forgotten that there are "moderate" factions to both parties.

Now, that Joe Liebermann "lost" the primary but won the election doesn't and didn't surprise me in the slightest bit. Nearly half of all Connecticut voters (45%) are registered Independant whlie only one-third are registered Democrat. (This would mean that around one-fifth are Republican with the remainder being Libertarian, Green, and "Other".) Now Lieberman narrowly lost the Primary - 52% to 48%. That's not that big of a deal especially since only one-third of the Connecticut voters could participate. So that a good portion of the Independants and Republicans came out and voted for the incumbant is par for the course.

I live in Delaware (one congressman) and for a decade and a half we had the "big four" - Senator Roth, Senator Biden, Congressman / Governor Carper and Governor / Congressman Castle - two Democrats and two Republicans. Now, together, the "big four" had over 150 years of statewide elected experience. Translation - Delaware loves incumbants. (Since that time Tom Carper was challenging Bill Roth and Roth passed out *twice* while campaigning. Delaware voters came back saying "We love you Bill, but its time to retire.")

Now the Lieberman / Lamont election revealed one big thing to me. First, after the election when Ned Lamont was celebrating his victory he got on the stage with a bunch of other people, mostly politicians. Of that group the vast majority were Liberal - there were very few Moderates of any flavor. This told me that, almost assuredly, Joe Lieberman would have a fourth term. Both because of Liberal versus non-Liberal reasons as well as because of incumbant sentiment. In fact after the election a Liberal said that he didn't understand how Lieberman won as an Independant - "Because he's an incumbant".

And this is not to say that Speaker-Elect Pelosi and that Senator Kennedy aren't good Catholics, but I question, strongly question, how often they attend mass or any other religious servcie.

Now as far as homosexuality is concerned, I really don't care what you do in the bedroom, as long as if and when I'm there that there is a doorway through which I can exit. Recently America magazine, a Jesuit publication, quoted the USCCB in a meeting during mid-early November (November 27 issue, page six), when they said that feeling / having homosexual lust is not wrong but, and I'm rephrasing here, for a guy to pick up another guy or for a girl to pick up another girl is sinful. Me, I'm a bit more conservative than that, I do consider "lust" to be a sin. Or rather, while lust may not be directly a sin, it certainly can lead to further and greater sins.

take care,


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Abortion etc.


Personnally I don't think that abortion should be as big of a voter issue as it is. Few enough people want to get abortions, few enough people are elgible to get abortions - it shouldn't be that big of an issue.

But it is.

As far as stem cells are concerned, I'm opposed to embryonic stem cell research. I'm in favor of non-embryonic stem cell research. The biggest deal with stem cell research is that nearly everyone, when you say stem cells, predsumes you're talking about "embryonic" stem cells.

I think that the research into non-embryonic stem cells is sorely needed. That most people don't know that core, blood, and marrow stem cells exist is the problem.

Now back to abortion. In the eighties between fourty and four-five percent of America said they were Catholic (or were Catholic enough to check the box on the form). Then the pedo-philia "situation" arose (regardless of the fact that a child has a better chance of getting sexually molested by a teacher than by a priest). Now one-fourth of America says that they are Catholic. That's not a problem from my point of view and that's a good thing. Because most of those who "left" Catholicism (and stopped checking the box marked "Catholic" on the form) didn't regularly attend mass.

The Church values attendance to mass as being critical. Personnally, I think that if you don't attend a religious service at least once a month, meaning that that you want to attend mass at least half the time, then you shouldn't call yourself by that religious name.

Now the Lateran-4 specified that a "good" Catholic must attend mass at least once a year and they specified that a "good" Catholic must attend confession at least once a year (to confess the fifty-plus times they missed mass). But seriously, if you can't attend a religious service at least once a month then how much and how often do you really want to attend. You're on your way to becoming "lapsed". Lateran-4 just specified that if your "on the verge" of becoming lapsed for twelve months then you are lapsed.

As I said, one-fourth of America is Catholic or claims they are Catholic. And the fourty-odd percent number of Catholics that were lost during the nineties didn't attend mass that often.

Now of the one-fourth of America who is Catholic, I don't want to hold them to the Catholic standard of life - they aren't Catholic, they shouldn't have to keep the way of life. Yet there are some / many who think / believe that if they make abortion against the law that it will help America's spirituality. I'd rather work within the lives of the people of America to try to make the live a more Christain and a more Catholic life. I'd rather let them live their life as they chose (however they chose) rather than make legislation and make they not only live their life of "selfishness" and live their life in deceit and as a lawbreaker.

Do people / doctors and nurses really deserve to go to prison and/or be killed because they're not Catholic and because they don't keep the Catholic way of life. Some would say "yes" - I disagree. Do people really deserve to go to prison and/or be killed because they don't adhere to the Bible and the interpretation of the Bible that the pro-life "sect" chooses to give it. Some (many) say yes - again I disagree.

take care,


Benedict and Turkey

The whole issue is borderline silly. What happened is Benedict quoted Emperor Manual 2 as saying "this". The various mullahs and other Muslim leader quoted Benedict as saying "this". When, in fact, Benedict was quoting someone else. So the Muslims should really be angry at Manual 2 for what he said six-odd hundred years ago. But they seem to enjoy getting angry and having riots - that's why they are there and I am here.

Its entirely a problem of communication and understanding. If the Muslims had bothered to understand that Benedict had not said "this" but that he was quoting Manual 2 there would not have been half the problem that there was. But it seems that Muslims enjoy getting angry and like to riot.

I'm glad that Benedict was not cowed by the angry Muslims. Then again, most Muslims seem to be angry at one thing or another. Its a shame that Benedict has to go to Turkey under such tight security - except Muslims enjoy getting angry and they enjoy rioting.

Will much come of it - maybe, maybe not. Salmon Rushdie is still alive - and he had a fatwa declared against him. Likewise, the Danish cartoonist is still alive as well. On the other hand, Benedict is in Turkey and not in ?England or Denmark.




I've created this blog to enable conversation - not just to spout my own ideas. Because, recently, there have been several Catholic events and several (American) Democrat Party events that need voicing. Moreso, many (older Catholics) wonder how could a Catholic be anything except Democrat. Likewise many (modern Catholics) wonder how could a Catholic be anything except Republican.

There was some misunderstanding between Benedict-16 and the Muslims. Now the Pope is visiting Turkey. I'll be typing my opinions about this as well.

Oh well, more later,