Friday, 20 July 2018

CLOSURE OF BELFAST SEMINARY - SCENE OF GAY SEX/ABUSE

CATHOLIC HERALD



The 185-year-old St Malachy's seminary opened just four years after Catholic Emancipation
St Malachy’s Seminary, the only Catholic seminary in Northern Ireland, is to close in September, Church authorities have announced.


The Diocese of Down and Connor said it took the decision after Queen’s University Belfast – where seminarians study for their degrees – closed its Department of Scholastic Philosophy and progressively withdrew modules in the subject. This placed a “great strain on the required philosophical training of clerical students”, the diocese said.
From September this year, all seminarians will be relocated elsewhere to continue their training.
Bishop William Crolly founded the seminary in 1833, just four years after Catholic Emancipation.
“The closure of the diocesan seminary is a sad moment for all, not least for all those who have worked closely alongside the formation team and who have contributed immensely to the formation of the seminarians,” the diocese said.
“The diocese of Down and Connor is deeply indebted to all those who have contributed to St Malachy’s Seminary over the years. In particular, it thanks to the current formation team under the direction of Fr Michael Spence, the Rector of the Seminary.
“The diocese also recognizes the huge contribution of diocesan priests and the Jesuit Community in Belfast who, over the years, have shared their insight, expertise and provided ongoing spiritual direction and assisted with human development programmes for the seminarians.”

THE GAY SEX SCENE AT SAINT MALACHY'S SEMINARY

Like so many RC seminaries in the world St. Malachy's Seminary in Belfast saw its fair share of gay sex and at least on one occasion the sexual abuse of a seminarian by a senior parish priest of Down and Connor.

Until a few years ago St. Malachy's Seminary moved from the grounds of St. Malachy's College in Belfast to the site of the Poor Clare Convent which had closed.

Again, Noel Treanor, the spendthrift bishop of Down and Connor spent an unknown amount of money to refit the seminary.

Now, 4 years later, all that money is wasted as the seminary is now being closed. 

When the seminary was located in St. Malachy's College several of the seminarians there had a very active gay lifestyle - cruising Belfast gay cruising grounds, visiting Belfast gay pubs and nightclubs and having sex with each other.

The most serious case we know of involves the sexual abuse of a seminarian by a senior parish priest of Down and Connor who got a long jail sentence for the abuse and is now out of the priesthood.

JAMES DONAGHY

PAT SAYS:

Father James Donaghy, the then parish priest of Bangor in County Down abused a seminarian who became known as "Victim A" in the course of the Donaghy trial.

Donaghy had befriended the young man when he was just 13 and had taken him to live in his presbytery with him on the excuse of "getting him ready for the priesthood".

Eventually, the young man entered St. Malachy's Seminary and the priest continued to abuse him in his seminary room.

Donaghy would come to St. Malachy's Seminary and lock the seminarian and himself into the room for hours at a time to abuse him. This priest's visits were noticed by the priests on the seminary staff and absolutely nothing was done about it.

Donaghy spent large sums of money on buying the seminarian designer clothes, designer aftershave, very high-grade computers and laptops and lavished 5* holidays and hotel breaks on the seminarian.

On behalf of Victim A's family, I contacted the then bishop - Paddy Walsh - and told him about the abuse.

WALSH

It took Walsh TEN YEARS to act - and only when the police became involved. 

Victim A has been very badly damaged by his abuse of many years. I do not know if he will ever fully recover?




I wonder how many more sad secrets are there concerning the seminary that is now closing after 185 years?


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ANOTHER BISHOP WHO ABUSED SEMINARIANS

He Preyed on Men Who Wanted to Be Priests. Then He Became a Cardinal.

Pope Francis Accepts Resignation of Honduran Bishop Accused of Sexual Abuse
PINEDA FASQUELLE WITH SEMINARIANS

Bishop Juan Jose Pineda Fasquelle was at the center of allegations involving abuse of seminarians and financial misconduct.

Pope Francis today accepted the resignation of Bishop Juan Jose Pineda Fasquelle, the auxiliary bishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

The bishop was at the center of allegations of sexual abuse and financial misconduct in the archdiocese which led to an apostolic visit in May 2017 at the Pope’s request. 

The Honduran prelate was a protégé of Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodriguez Maradiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, and in recent months had been left in charge of the archdiocese in the cardinal’s absence. 

Cardinal Maradiaga is the coordinator of the C9 Group of Cardinals advising the Holy Father on Church reform. 

In March, the Register obtained testimonies from two former seminarians detailing allegations of sexual misconduct by the bishop.  The two men and others feared reprisals from the prelate for speaking out.

As well as the abuse, Bishop Pineda, 57, was also reported to have a string of intimate male friends in Honduras and abroad whom he treated with gifts. 

Fasquelle


The bishop was also accused of financial misconduct including misuse of $1.3 million from the Honduran government earmarked for charitable projects but which “completely disappeared.” 
A source with knowledge of the case told the Register July 20 that “we’ve been waiting for this day in Honduras.” 

Today’s announcement means “those who have suffered obtain partial justice; the Church has taken steps on the path of truth,” the source added.

But he lamented that Bishop Pineda remains a bishop and that the hierarchy “keeps covering for these abusers.” 

Backing reports also obtained from other sources, he said Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga was “aware of everything but always sided with Pineda and not the truth” and that the institutions meant to deal with these cases, such as the apostolic nunciature, “were overridden.” 

Over the past few months the Register contacted Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga and Bishop Pineda, offering both the opportunity to deny these allegations, but neither responded to our enquiries. 

“The positive thing,” the source said, “is that something is moving.”  
***
Update: July 20, 1.10pm CET 
In a statement issued today, Bishop Pineda said he had handed the Pope his resignation “several months ago,” adding that he had “tried with all my heart” to serve the “People of God” placed under his charge. 

“If I succeeded, blessed be God,” he said. “If I failed you, I apologize.”


TODAY - AS WE READ THIS - SEMINARIANS AND YOUNG PRIESTS ARE BEING SEXUALLY ABUSED BY SENIOR PRIESTS AND BISHOPS!


FATHER PAUL PRIOR



We are expecting the former Dean of Maynooth Father Paul Prior to feature soon in this years clerical appointments in the Diocese of Kilmore in Cavan.

In the meantime Father Prior has been busy asking Google to take down some of my blogs about him, Maynooth and The Irish College in Rome.

Prior spent about 20 years between Maynooth and Rome in a position of authority over seminarians. 

Many of those seminarians complained about his intrusive questions about their sexuality.

He was also played his part in deciding who was to be ordained and who was not.

Seminarians claim that he had operated as a "faux psychologist" and they felt very intimidated by his questions and interviewing style.

He left Maynooth a year ago and has been benefiting from that famous clerical all expenses holiday called a "sabbatical".

It is now likely, though not certain, that he will become the PP of some Cavan parish.

Although, strangely, he is not listed on the diocesan website among its list of clergy?

Kilmore has some 70 "active" priests spread across 30+ parishes.

I'm quite sure that the astute Cavan farmers will not be submitting themselves to their new PP for counselling or interviews about their sex lives.

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ARMOY PARISH
DOWN AND CONNOR




All is not well in the rural parish of Armoy in County Antrim and the Diocese of Down and Connor.

Parishioners there tell me that there are certain "difficulties" with regard their PP Father Chris Nellis.

The Armoy people have always  been very good to their priests and have no personalised issues with Father Nellis. 

But they are worried about their PP and very unhappy with the bishop, Noel Treanor, for not addressing the problem and get Fr. Nellis the assistance he needs.

But under Treanor Down and Connor has become totally inpersonal and all about keeping a distance between the bishops £4 million palace and the people and priests.

Treanor operates in a very "autistic manner.

He has as much personality and emotions as a steel  lightpost.

He is behaving very irresponsibly and negligent in the Armoy case.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF PRIESTS AND SEMINARIANS






The wall of secrecy surrounding the harassment of priests and seminarians is particularly high, complicated by both canon and civil law.

Paul Moses 

United States

July 2018

The U.S. Catholic bishops’ system for responding to allegations of clergy sexual abuse of children has shown itself effective if it can act decisively on an accusation against a churchman who once stood near the apex of ecclesial power, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick.

But the cardinal’s downfall also shows the need for better, more transparent ways for responding to what may be just as widespread a problem within the church: sexual harassment of adults.
With the disclosure of the child molestation claim, two New Jersey dioceses McCarrick once led acknowledged that they had received three allegations “purporting that he had engaged in sexual improprieties with adults during his time here; two of these resulted in settlements.”
The Newark and Metuchen dioceses added that “all were reported to law enforcement at that time.”
On that basis, mainstream news media began reporting longstanding accusations about McCarrick’s alleged sexual pursuit of seminarians and young priests. Previously, a number of reporters for major newspapers had tried but failed to verify these allegations.
The charge that McCarrick sexually assaulted a teenaged altar boy in the sacristy of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York forty-seven years ago — which a review board at the New York archdiocese found to be “credible and substantiated” — will advance to the Vatican for further review. 
McCarrick, who at eighty-seven years old has been a sort of international ambassador for the church since his retirement as archbishop of Washington in 2006, is barred meanwhile from publicly exercising his ministry as a priest. He says he is innocent, and he will have a chance to present his case.
It’s all relatively transparent. But the cases involving adults — alleged “improprieties” deemed serious enough for church officials to refer them to law enforcement at the time they were received — remain a matter of secrecy and speculation.
The two settlements were reached out of court, before a lawsuit was filed, so there is not an official court record.
Secrecy drove the scandal of clergy sexual abuse of children, allowing serial abusers to be transferred from one parish to another instead of expelled from the priesthood.
Catholic priests were no more likely than other men to abuse children, but an institutional cover-up of their offenses helped the problem multiply.
The question is whether this will apply to sexual harassment of adults, which, as various lawsuits have shown, also emerges in the church, as it does in any large institution. (The Metuchen and Newark dioceses say they have strong policies in place regarding harassment, discrimination, and boundary violations.)
The wall of secrecy surrounding the harassment of priests and seminarians is particularly high, complicated by both canon and civil law.
“There are great impediments in both systems,” said Robert Hoatson, a former priest who filed a lawsuit with allegations ranging from his own victimization as a youth to harassment he experienced as a seminarian and priest, and finally, to ecclesial retaliation for having testified before a legislative committee about the church’s handling of clergy sexual abuse.



Defendants included the Newark and New York archdioceses and the Christian Brothers, where Hoatson had served before becoming a priest.
An affidavit that a canon lawyer filed in Hoatson’s case on behalf of Newark’s archbishop at the time, John Myers, maintained that the church had authority to assign a priest in any way the archbishop wanted.
“Since priests are ordained to serve in what is regarded as a divine calling, and not hired, the relationship of a priest to his diocesan bishop (and the diocesan bishop’s diocese) is not an employment relationship,” it said, adding that a priest “is committed for life to both serve that diocese as a cleric and to remain subject to the authority of the diocesan bishop.”
There is a deeply sacramental theology to this relationship. But is it meant to be used to stop a priest from calling for bishops to be held accountable for enabling crimes? The First Amendment rights for freedom of religious practice make it difficult to get an answer to that question in court.
Archbishop Myers placed Hoatson on administrative leave in December 2005 for filing the lawsuit; Hoatson’s case was later dismissed on legal grounds. Hoatson is now a well-known advocate for victims of clergy sexual abuse; he says he has helped some five thousand people. I asked him about the extent of sexual harassment of adults within the church in comparison to the clergy abuse of children.
“It could be as rampant,” he said.

(Paul Moses, a contributing writer at Commonweal, is the author of The Saint and the Sultan: The Crusades, Islam and Francis of Assisi's Mission of Peace (Doubleday, 2009) and An Unlikely Union: The Love-Hate Story of New York's Irish and Italians (NYU Press, 2015). Follow him on Twitter @PaulBMoses.)

PAT SAYS:

THE SEXUAL ABUSE OF CHILDREN BY PRIESTS AND BISHOPS is now a global scandal for the RC Church.

The other massive scandal that is fully to air is THE ABUSE OF ADULTS - PRIESTS - SEMINARIANS BY OTHER PRIESTS AND BY BISHOPS.

In the context of our reporting on Maynooth we have seen that not only are seminarians having sex with each other - they are also sexually involved with priests.

We have seen the sex on the altar scandal in Cloyne and the reports that at least VERY SENIOR IRISH CLERIC is paying a monthly sum to a younger man.

Recently I have referred this serious allegation to the PapaNuncioio in Ireland and to one other Irish bishop who is directly involved.


NUNCIO OKOLO

I have copies of my communications to these two bishops.
Neither the Nuncio or the bishop has even acknowledged my letter.
If and when this scandal hits the media it will be much worse than the Bishop Casey scandal.
Keeping this "secret" under wraps will be a big priority for the Irish RC Church and I think they will pay a barrel load of money to keep it under wraps.
I have also informed a small number of trusted journalists about the matter.
The sexual abuse of seminarians and young priests by older clerics is a big problem and always has been.

In my first three years in the priesthood in the mid 1970s, I was propositioned by two canons and a monastic abbot. 

In one case an elderly canon, without any warning, pushed me down on a bed and jumped on top of me.

In the second case another, not so elderly canon, again without any warning pushed me up against a wall and tried to kiss me.

The incident with the abbot happened in the monastery where I was on retreat and receiving spiritual direction.

Many priests could write similar stories.

Let us see if any of them contribute on this matter here today.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

MOTHER TERESA ORDER IN INDIAN CONFLICT

In India, the arrest of a nun in Ranchi for baby trafficking is bringing the entire order of Mother Teresa in the dock. But the governor of Calcutta accuses: the Hindu nationalists use the affair for their own interests




SCOPRI TOP NEWS
GIORGIO BERNARDELLI
MILAN

An ugly local affair, which in Hindu nationalistic India risks turning into a general accusation against the nuns of Mother Teresa. For about ten days the Missionaries of Charity have been in the eye of the storm for a judicial affair that in Ranchi saw one of them end up behind bars, together with a lay collaborator, accused of trafficking in illegal adoptions.  

The events are said to have taken place in a house for single mothers that the nuns run in the capital of the State of Jharkhand, one of the 243 structures serving the poorest and the poor that the white-and-blue-sari sisters keep open every day throughout India. The judicial authorities have collected a complaint from an Indian couple who allegedly paid 120 thousand rupees (about 1500 euros) for having in adoption one of the single mothers’ children. According to the investigations, this was not an isolated incident in that structure. It should also be added that since 2015 the Missionaries of Charity - as a general policy - had stopped giving children for adoption in India because they do not accept of the New Delhi government’s guidelines that make it possible also for singles and couples of the same sex.  

On July 5, when news broke over the center of Ranchi and Sister Concilia, the mother house of the Missionaries of Charity, immediately released a very clear statement: “We are absolutely shocked by what has happened in one of our homes - the Superior Sister Mary Prema wrote - It should never have happened: it goes against our moral convictions. We are carefully looking into this matter. We will take all the necessary precautions to ensure that such an incident never happens again”.  

In the meantime, however, the Missionaries of Charity also have to deal with a series of actions implemented by the local government of Jharkhand which - from the specific case - seem to want to broaden the accusations to the work of the entire religious family founded by Mother Teresa. The Chief of Police has in fact asked the Central Government of New Delhi to freeze all the bank accounts of the Missionaries of Charity, in order to check the existence of violations in foreign financing. All this while the old theses of the English journalist Christopher Hitchens, who accused Mother Teresa of exploiting poverty in India, are back in vogue in Indian public opinion. While the RSS - the movement of Hindu nationalists, very close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi - has been asked to withdraw the Bharat Ratna, the most prestigious Indian honor from the founder of the Missionaries of Charity. It was awarded in 1980.  

The auxiliary bishop of Ranchi, Telesphore Bilung, pointed his finger at the local government, which, under the guidance of Hindu nationalists, last year also introduced the controversial anti-conversion laws in Jharkhand. “We have news of searches in different districts of the state - told the agency UcaNews - They are trying to prove that Christians are linked to illegal activities. Even the spokesperson of the Missionaries of Charity, Sunita Kumar, speaks of an attempt to “threaten and stifle financially” the religious order founded by Mother Teresa, “whose work in India since 1950 is before everyone’s eyes”.  


The approaching general elections in India in May 2019 are also playing a part in this story: the Hindu nationalists of the BJP, which governs with Modi, have been repeatedly accused in recent years of building their consensus through acts of hostility against minorities, which are becoming increasingly serious. And in this context, it is significant that Mamata Banerjee, governor of West Bengal, the State of Calcutta, has taken sides in defense of the Missionaries of Charity in these days: “Malicious attempts to malign their name. The sisters are being targeted. BJP want to spare no one. Highly condemnable. Let MOC continue to do their work for the poorest and the poor”.  

PAT SAYS:

There is much disagreement in India about this row involving the Missionaries of Charity.

Was the selling of this baby by one nun a one-off?

Or are there other cases?

If this was only one incident it is still very shocking.

We all thought that the selling of babies by nuns was something that happened in the 192- to 1960 era.

The fact that this has happened today in the 21st century is very shocking.

One thing has been proven - you cannot trust the RC Church, its priests or its nuns with children!

And I see that the MOC is also implementing a police forbidden by the Indian Government - refusing adopted children to single people and gay couples.

Why is it that the RC Church thinks that it can go against the laws of the land it is in?

These nuns would prefer a baby to languish in a very basic "orphanage" rather than have the adoring love of a single parent or two same-sex parents.

More than ever we need to get the RC Church OUT of schools, hospitals and orphanages.


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MOTHER TERESA - GOOD OR EVIL?


MOTHER TERESA - GOOD OR EVIL PART 2





Personally, I do not believe that Mother Teresa was worthy of the swift canonization she was granted.

She was a supporter of the ecclesiastical and political establishment - unlike Jesus Christ who was a critic and opponent of both the religious and political establishments of his day.

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PUBLIC RELEASE: 1-MAR-2013

UNIVERSITY OF MONTREAL STUDY OF MOTHER TERESA.

Mother Teresa: Anything but a saint...
Researchers dispell the myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa
UNIVERSITY OF MONTREAL

    
The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is dispelled in a paper by Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal's Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Education. The paper will be published in the March issue of the journal Studies in Religion/Sciences religieuses and is an analysis of the published writings about Mother Teresa. Like the journalist and author Christopher Hitchens, who is amply quoted in their analysis, the researchers conclude that her hallowed image--which does not stand up to analysis of the facts--was constructed, and that her beatification was orchestrated by an effective media relations campaign.

"While looking for documentation on the phenomenon of altruism for a seminar on ethics, one of us stumbled upon the life and work of one of Catholic Church's most celebrated woman and now part of our collective imagination--Mother Teresa--whose real name was Agnes Gonxha," says Professor Larivée, who led the research. "The description was so ecstatic that it piqued our curiosity and pushed us to research further."

As a result, the three researchers collected 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa. After eliminating 195 duplicates, they consulted 287 documents to conduct their analysis, representing 96% of the literature on the founder of the Order of the Missionaries of Charity (OMC). Facts debunk the myth of Mother Teresa

In their article, Serge Larivée and his colleagues also cite a number of problems not take into account by the Vatican in Mother Teresa's beatification process, such as "her rather dubious way of caring for the sick, her questionable political contacts, her suspicious management of the enormous sums of money she received, and her overly dogmatic views regarding, in particular, abortion, contraception, and divorce."


The sick must suffer like Christ on the cross

At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries. The missions have been described as "homes for the dying" by doctors visiting several of these establishments in Calcutta. Two-thirds of the people coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, while the other third lay dying without receiving appropriate care. The doctors observed a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers. The problem is not a lack of money--the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars--but rather a particular conception of suffering and death: "There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ's Passion. The world gains much from their suffering," was her reply to criticism, cites the journalist Christopher Hitchens. Nevertheless, when Mother Teresa required palliative care, she received it in a modern American hospital.


Questionable politics and shadowy accounting

Mother Teresa was generous with her prayers but rather miserly with her foundation's millions when it came to humanity's suffering. During numerous floods in India or following the explosion of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, she offered numerous prayers and medallions of the Virgin Mary but no direct or monetary aid. On the other hand, she had no qualms about accepting the Legion of Honour and a grant from the Duvalier dictatorship in Haiti. Millions of dollars were transferred to the MCO's various bank accounts, but most of the accounts were kept secret, Larivée says. "Given the parsimonious management of Mother Theresa's works, one may ask where the millions of dollars for the poorest of the poor have gone?"


The grand media plan for holiness


Despite these disturbing facts, how did Mother Teresa succeed in building an image of holiness and infinite goodness? According to the three researchers, her meeting in London in 1968 with the BBC's Malcom Muggeridge, an anti-abortion journalist who shared her right-wing Catholic values, was crucial. Muggeridge decided to promote Teresa, who consequently discovered the power of mass media. In 1969, he made a eulogistic film of the missionary, promoting her by attributing to her the "first photographic miracle," when it should have been attributed to the new film stock being marketed by Kodak. Afterwards, Mother Teresa travelled throughout the world and received numerous awards, including the Nobel Peace Prize. In her acceptance speech, on the subject of Bosnian women who were raped by Serbs and now sought abortion, she said: "I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a direct war, a direct killing--direct murder by the mother herself."

Following her death, the Vatican decided to waive the usual five-year waiting period to open the beatification process. The miracle attributed to Mother Theresa was the healing of a woman, Monica Besra, who had been suffering from intense abdominal pain. The woman testified that she was cured after a medallion blessed by Mother Theresa was placed on her abdomen. Her doctors thought otherwise: the ovarian cyst and the tuberculosis from which she suffered were healed by the drugs they had given her. The Vatican, nevertheless, concluded that it was a miracle. Mother Teresa's popularity was such that she had become untouchable for the population, which had already declared her a saint. "What could be better than beatification followed by canonization of this model to revitalize the Church and inspire the faithful especially at a time when churches are empty and the Roman authority is in decline?" Larivée and his colleagues ask.


Positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth


Despite Mother Teresa's dubious way of caring for the sick by glorifying their suffering instead of relieving it, Serge Larivée and his colleagues point out the positive effect of the Mother Teresa myth: "If the extraordinary image of Mother Teresa conveyed in the collective imagination has encouraged humanitarian initiatives that are genuinely engaged with those crushed by poverty, we can only rejoice. It is likely that she has inspired many humanitarian workers whose actions have truly relieved the suffering of the destitute and addressed the causes of poverty and isolation without being extolled by the media. Nevertheless, the media coverage of Mother Theresa could have been a little more rigorous.


About the study

The study was conducted by Serge Larivée, Department of psychoeducation, University of Montreal, Carole Sénéchal, Faculty of Education, University of Ottawa, and Geneviève Chénard, Department of psychoeducation, University of Montreal.
The printed version, available only in French, will be published in March 2013 in issue 42 of Studies in Religion / Sciences religieuses.
This study received no specific funding.
Professor Serge Larivée is available only for interviews in French. Professor Carole Sénéchal will be available for English interviews on Friday, March 1st.
*The University of Montreal is officially known as Université de Montréal.


    

A CHURCH WITH NO RELIGION


The founders of the “Sunday Assembly” in London say they’re not forming a new church, though they do meet on a Sunday. And they say they’re not trying to create a new religion, but their movement has a growing number of followers around the world.
There's no God, no deities, no doctrine ... so what is it?
Sanderson Jones, co-founder of the Sunday Assembly, describes the group as a godless congregation that celebrates life. He started it along with Pippa Evans.
“We've got an awesome motto: live better, help often and wonder more. And our mission is to help everyone live this one life as fully as possible,” say Evans and Jones, speaking together, at times in unison.
The pair say they felt there weren’t any Sunday morning communal events that brought people together to celebrate life — at least events that didn't include God or religion. 
Still, you can't help but notice the similarities to a traditional church service. Again, it meets on a Sunday. Someone delivers a sermon of sorts. There's chanting and, of course, choral singing. It’s Freddie Mercury, though, not your standard church fare. When all that's done, there's a moment given over to silent contemplation and giving thanks — a prayer if you will.
It even held its first meetings in a deconsecrated church in North London before increased attendance forced them into bigger premises.
“We put out about 50 chairs, and over 200 people turned up, so it was pretty big from the get go,” Evans says.
And it's getting bigger: They recently ran an international outreach tour called “40 days and 40 nights” — another religious association, this time to the tale of Noah’s Ark. Their efforts have led to satellite assemblies in other cities in the UK, as well as in the US and Australia.
“Due to the wonders of the Internet and social media, people heard about what we were doing and said, ‘Oh, that sounds great.' They got in touch with us and we thought, look we're clearly doing something people like, we'll help other people do it too,” said Jones.
Jones and Evans don't shun the term atheists, but prefer to call themselves “non-believers.” Evans adds, though, that believers are also welcome. 
Last month, four assemblies in Britain met in different cities on the same day. Each group subscribes to the same idea.
“This is about trying to get people back together, connecting with each other and trying to help people live their life to the full,” Evans says.
Of course, Jones and Evans aren’t the first to found a non-religious church with religious undertones.
“The idea of atheist religions, or at the very least non-Christian religions, is quite an old one really,” says Nik Spencer, the research director at Theos, a religion-focused think tank based in London. He's also the author of a new book about the history of atheism.
Spencer said organized alternatives to the Catholic Church sprang up in the wake of the French Revolution, keeping the model of a traditional service.
“Particularly in the 1830s when certain thinkers developed what you could call Catholicism without God, in which people celebrated humanity, in which humanity replaced God as the object of worship,” he adds.
These movements started enthusiastically, but without God as the headline act, support eventually waned. The Sunday Assembly may be hot right now, but Spencer says these movements need a center of gravity.
“If, as is the case in a lot of these movements, their center of gravity has effectively been an absence — that is often not quite strong enough to hold them together,” he says.
For now, though, people attending the Sunday Assembly in London are enthusiastically embracing it. Those I met describe it as a more positive experience than a traditional church service.
“I like the sense of community, I like that it's not a lecture, that it's freer,” says one participant.
“I think it's inspiring, actually, to help people be their best selves,” adds another.

And the founders of The Sunday Assembly stress their first, and really only, commandment - to keep their movement growing: Thou shalt have fun.


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WHY I HATE RELIGION


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PAT SAYS:

It's always good to highlight the massive difference between RELIGION and SPIRITUALITY.

Many religious people have no spirituality.

Many spiritual people reject religion.

Many of our churches are populated with religious people who follow blindly whose religion is only a habit or the result of brainwashing.

In fact much religion kills the spirit.

The emergence of Church Without Religion,  or Atheist Churches is a sign that churches no longer are "doing it" for thinking people.

The coming together of communities of people that are trying to achieve enlightenment, goodness etc, with or without God, Can only be a good think.

Anything that encouraged goodness and love is good in itself.

Churches should ask: "What are we doing so wrong that people are abandoning us"?

RAPHOE CLERICAL CHANGES

Most Rev. Alan McGuckian, SJ, Bishop of Raphoe, has announced the following clergy appointments in the diocese.

-          Canon Dinny McGettigan, PP, Raphoe retires after 53 years of priestly ministry in the Diocese.
-          Fr Eamonn Kelly, Adm, Conwal and Leck to be PP, Raphoe.
-          Mgr Kevin Gillespie, CC, Conwal & Leck to be ADM, Conwal & Leck and Vicar Forane.
-          Canon Francis McAteer retires as PP of Carrick to be AP, Glencolmcille.
-          Fr Denis Quinn, PP, Falcarragh to be PP Carrick.
-          Fr James Gillespie, CC, Irish Martyrs, Letterkenny to be PP, Falcarragh.
-          Fr Brendan Ward returns from Rome to be CC, Irish Martyrs and Official of the Derry Marriage Tribunal.
-          Fr Paul McGeehan, CC, Glencolmcille to be CC Glenvar.
-          Fr Damian Nejad returns from being on loan to Dromore Diocese to be CC, Conwal and Leck.
Appointments take effect on the 20th August 2018


The interesting appointment in Raphoe is the appointment of Monsignor Kevin Gillespie as Administrator of Letterkenny Cathedral.

He came from Rome a short while ago where he was one of the papal masters of ceremonies.

Many thought he would have been given a diocese instead of a curacy.

He is now on the move and may yet get a diocese.

CASHEL AND EMLY APPOINTMENTS

Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly announces clerical appointments for the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly

Archbishop Kieran O’Reilly has today issued the following Diocesan Clerical Appointments for 2018.  These appointments will take effect from Saturday 18 August 2018:
1. Very Rev John McGrath, PP Mullinahone, to be AP Cashel & Rosegreen, resident in Rosegreen
2. Rt Rev Mgr Christy O’Dwyer, PPVG, Cashel & Rosegreen to be AP Templetuohy & Moyne, resident in Moyne and continuing as Vicar General of the Archdiocese
3. Very Rev John Beatty, PP Anacarty & Donohill, to be AP Tipperary Town
4. Very Rev Edmond V O’Rahelly, PP, Ballina & Boher to be AP Ballina & Boher
5. Very Rev Liam Holmes, PP, Knockaney & Patrickswell to retire
6. Very Rev James Kennedy, Adm. Templetuohy & Moyne, to be PP Anacarty & Donohil
7. Rev Fr Enda Brady, CC, Cashel & Rosegreen to be PP Cashel & Rosegreen
8. Rev Fr Thomas Lanigan-Ryan, CC, Tipperary Town to be PP Ballina & Boher
9. Rev Fr Edward ClearyCC, Hospital & Herbertstown to be PP Knockaney & Patrickswell
10. Rev Fr Daniel O’Gorman, CC, Killenaule & Moyglass to be PP Mullinahone

Sunday, 15 July 2018

CONFESSION

The practice of Confession is dying out especially in this part of the world.
Confession got a bad name because clerics and the hierarchy used it as a method of controlling people at very basic levels - sexuality, guilt, secrets etc.
Many priests abused their position in the Confessional - in being ignorant and angry with people - and other priest's used the Confessional to "get off" on people's sex sins and even to sexually seducing people. including children/It was all part of the clergy and hierarchy forgetting about the love and forgiveness of Jesus and communicating that to people every single day and opportunity.

That love of Jesus was replaced with clerical and hierarchal legalism that came to its fruition in the publication of Canon Law 1918.
The RC Church is founded on legalism, as well as on patriarchy, misogyny, clericalism, and homophobia.
The current clergy and hierarchy are the exact equivalent of The Pharisees in this century.



CONFESSION:
In the New Testament there us reference to issues like repentance and confession but in very general ways.
The RC Church thinks that the fact that Christ gave the apostles ??? To bind and free gave them the authority to ordain individual confession to a cleric as absolutely binding.
But those of us who have watched and learned the ways of God know that he is an absolutely forgiving God who responds to requests for forgiveness immediately and without the involvement of a middleman.
So as soon as we express genuine remorse to God and get his forgiveness, we are forgiven.
USEFULNESS OF CONFESSION
I do believe that in certain cases and at certain times there is great good that can come of the Sacrament of Penance celebrated by a non-legalist priest and a person seeking forgiveness in the context of spiritual direction.
And there are people who need to head forgiveness being pronounced to them before they can forgive themselves.
Maybe these people are spiritual "babies" needing spiritual reassurance. So what? We are all different and I have often needed reassurance in various aspects of my life.
I have had some wonderful experiences of Confession as a  confessor and a penitent. Needless to say, these occasions did not take place in a dark wardrobe - but in more appropriate spaces for penance and spiritual direction.
CONFESSION may die out?
Confession may be restored and reformed?
Not ALL PRIESTS are suitable to be confessors.
Only priests with special gifts and training should be allowed to hear Confession.

For instance, not all GPS would be good at heart surgery!


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Top 10 Signs You’re in a Legalistic Church
Sheila Gregoire

1. You might be in a legalistic church….if legitimate questions are framed as a faith issue

2. You might be in a legalistic church….if there’s no room for respectful disagreement

3. You might be in a legalistic church….if they define things as “sin” that are simply differences of opinion

4. You might be in a legalistic church…if your church insists on a certain political stance

5. You might be in a legalistic church…if your church emphasizes who is “in” and who is “out”



6. You might be in a legalistic church….if constructive criticism is seen as a pride issue

7. You might be in a legalistic church if…obedience to established authority is seen as the same as obedience to God

8. You might be in a legalistic church if…the sins most preached about are focused on the failings of the congregants in lower standing, rather than those in a higher standing.

9. You might be in a legalistic church if….people are judged by the content of their theology rather than by the fruit that they demonstrate

10. You might be in a legalistic church if…there is a highly simplistic view of blessing and cursing