Friday, 19 December 2014

GAY VOICES IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

GAY VOICES IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH

See this wonderful video from GCVI - Cay Catholic Voice Ireland at the link below:

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

CAN AIDS BE CURED?

CAN AIDS BE CURED?




From: THE NEW YORKER - 22.12.2014

BY: Dr. Jerome Groopman

Current research is targeting the ability of H.I.V. to stay dormant in c cells memory cells.

One morning in the winter of 1981, my wife came home after her on-call shift at the U.C.L.A. Medical Center and told me about a baffling new case. Queenie was an eighteen-year-old prostitute, his hair dyed the color of brass. He had arrived at the emergency room with a high fever and a cough, and appeared to have a routine kind of pneumonia, readily treated with antibiotics. But the medical team retrieved a microbe from his lungs called Pneumocystis carinii. The microbe was known for causing a rare fungal pneumonia that had been seen in severely malnourished children and in adults undergoing organ transplants or chemotherapy.

Several specialists at the hospital were enlisted to make sense of the infection. Queenie had a critically low platelet count, which made him susceptible to hemorrhage, and I was called in to examine him. He was lying on his side and breathing with difficulty. His sheets were soaked with sweat. A herpes infection had so severely blistered his flesh that surgeons had cut away necrotic segments of his thighs. I couldn’t explain his falling platelet numbers. His lungs began to fail, and he was placed on a ventilator. Soon afterward, Queenie died, of respiratory failure.
His was one of several cases of the same rare pneumonia seen by physicians on both coasts. Michael Gottlieb, a U.C.L.A. immunologist, studied the blood of some of these patients and made the key observation that they had lost almost all their helper T cells, which protect against infections and cancers. In June, 1981, the Centers for Disease Control published Gottlieb’s cases in itsMorbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, and, in July, Dr. Alvin Friedman-Kien, of New York University, reported that twenty-six gay men in New York and California had received diagnoses of Kaposi sarcoma, a cancer of the lymphatic channels and blood vessels. This, too, was strange: Kaposi sarcoma typically affected elderly men of Eastern European Jewish and Mediterranean ancestry.

I tended to our Kaposi-sarcoma patients. I was the most junior person on staff and had no expertise in the tumor, but none of the senior faculty wanted the job. My first patient, a middle-aged fireman nicknamed Bud, lived a closeted life in West Los Angeles. Not long before he checked in to the hospital, he had started to find growths on his legs that looked like ripe cherries. Then they appeared on his torso, on his face, and in his mouth. Despite strong doses of chemotherapy, the standard treatment for advanced Kaposi sarcoma, his tumors grew, disfiguring him and killing him in less than a year. By 1982, men with highly aggressive kinds of lymphoma had started to arrive at the hospital. They, too, failed to improve with chemotherapy. Patients were dying from an array of diseases that had overcome ravaged immune systems. All my patients had one disorder in common, which the C.D.C., that year, had named acquired-immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Scientists did not yet know what caused it.




The next year, two research teams—one led by Luc Montagnier and Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, of the Pasteur Institute, in Paris, the other by Robert Gallo, at the National Cancer Institute, in Maryland—published papers in Science that described a new retrovirus in the lymph nodes and blood cells of AIDS patients. A retrovirus has a pernicious way of reproducing: it permanently inserts a DNA copy of its genome into the nucleus of a host cell, hijacking the cell’s machinery for its own purposes. When the retrovirus mutates, which it often does, its spawn becomes difficult for the body or a vaccine to target and chase out. Retroviral diseases were widely believed to be incurable. In May of 1986, after much dispute about credit for the discovery (the French finally won the Nobel, in 2008), an international committee of scientists agreed on the name H.I.V., or human immunodeficiency virus. By the end of that year, about twenty-five thousand of the nearly twenty-nine thousand Americans with reported AIDS diagnoses had died.

Since then, H.I.V. has been transformed into a treatable condition, one of the great victories of modern medicine. In 1987, the F.D.A. approved AZT, a cancer drug that had never gone to market, for use in H.I.V. patients. At first, it was extortionately priced and was prescribed in high doses, which proved toxic, provoking protest from the gay community. But AZT was able to insinuate itself into the virus’s DNA as it formed, and later it was used in lower doses. Scientists have now developed more than thirty antiretroviral medicines that stop H.I.V. from reproducing in helper T cells.
The idea of combining medications into a “cocktail” came in the mid-nineteen-nineties, mirroring the way oncologists treated cancer. Cancer cells, like H.I.V. particles, can mutate quickly enough to escape a single targeted drug. The treatment regimen—HAART, for highly active antiretroviral therapy—was put through clinical trials by prominent researchers such as David Ho, of the Aaron Diamond Institute, in New York. I gave the cocktail to one of my patients, David Sanford, and less than a month after beginning treatment his fever fell, his infections disappeared, his energy returned, and he started to gain weight. The H.I.V. in his bloodstream plummeted to an undetectable level, where it has remained. Later, in a Pulitzer Prize-winning article, Sanford wrote, “I am probably more likely to be hit by a truck than to die of AIDS.” That now holds true for a great majority of people with H.I.V. in the United States. In the past five years, not one of the dozens of H.I.V. patients I’ve cared for has died of the disease.

There are still tremendous hurdles. Thirty-five million people in the world are living with the virus. In sub-Saharan Africa, where most new cases are reported, sixty-three per cent of those eligible for the drug regimen do not receive it; those who do often fail to receive it in full. In the United States, a year’s worth of HAART costs many thousands of dollars per patient, and the long-term side effects can be debilitating.

Now researchers are talking more and more about a cure. We know as much about H.I.V. as we do about certain cancers: its genes have been sequenced, its method of infiltrating host cells deciphered, its proteins mapped in three dimensions. A critical discovery was made in 1997: the virus can lie dormant in long-lived cells, untouched by the current drugs. If we can safely and affordably eliminate the viral reservoir, we will finally have defeated H.I.V.
Ward 86, the nation’s first outpatient AIDS clinic, opened at San Francisco General Hospital on January 1, 1983. Recently, I went there to see Steven Deeks, an expert on the chronic immune activation and inflammation brought on by H.I.V. Deeks, a professor at the School of Medicine at U.C.S.F., also runs the SCOPE Study: a cohort of two thousand H.I.V.-positive men and women in whom he measures the long-term effects of living with the virus. Each year, blood samples are sent to labs all over the world. Deeks’s mission is to catalogue the damage that H.I.V. does to tissues and to test new drugs that might help.

The ward occupies the sixth floor of an Art Deco building on the north side of campus. I found Deeks in his office, wearing a flannel shirt and New Balance sneakers. He explained his concerns about the drug cocktail. “Antiretroviral drugs are designed to block H.I.V. replication, and they do that quite well,” he said. But they don’t enable many patients to recover fully. The immune system improves enough to prevent AIDS, but, because the virus persists, the immune system must mount a continuous low-level response. That creates chronic inflammation, which injures tissues.

The inflammation is exacerbated by side effects of the medicines. Early treatments caused anemia, nerve damage, and lipodystrophy—the wasting of the limbs and face, and the deposits of fat around the belly. Lipodystrophy is still a major problem. Deeks has observed many patients in the SCOPE cohort with high levels of cholesterol and triglyceride, and these can lead to organ damage. One serious consequence is heart disease, which appears to be caused by inflammation of the artery walls. Deeks has also seen lung, liver, and skin cancers in his patients. In a disturbing echo of the early days of the epidemic, he has noticed that middle-aged patients develop diseases associated with aging: kidney and bone disease and possibly neurocognitive defects. A better definition for AIDS, according to Deeks, might be “acquired-inflammatory-disease syndrome.”

He introduced me to one of his patients, whom I’ll call Gordon. A tall, genial man with rimless glasses stood up to shake my hand, and I saw that he had the signature protruding belly. He has been H.I.V.-positive for almost forty years, and he said he felt lucky to be alive: “A ten-year partner of mine who had the same strain of H.I.V., who ate the same food, had the same doctors, took the same early H.I.V. meds, died in June, 1990, almost twenty-five years ago.”
He told me, “I’m no longer that concerned about the virus itself. I’m more concerned about my internal organs and premature aging.” In 1999, at fifty, he learned that fatty deposits had substantially constricted the blood flow in a major artery that supplies the heart’s left ventricle. He began to experience crippling pain when he walked, because the blood supply to his bone tissue had diminished—a condition called avascular necrosis. In 2002, he had his first hip replacement, and the second in 2010. His muscles have shrunk, and sitting can be uncomfortable, so he sometimes wears special foam-padded underwear. Every other year, he has his face injected with poly-L-lactic acid, which replaces lost connective tissue.



Gordon’s longevity, and the dozens of drugs he has taken to stay alive, exemplifies the experience of millions of infected AIDS patients. His state-of-the-art treatment costs almost a hundred thousand dollars a year. Although it’s covered by his insurance and by the State of California, he calls it “a ransom: your money or your life.” For Deeks, the question is “Can the world find the resources to build a system to deliver, on a daily basis, antiretroviral drugs to some thirty-five million people, many in very poor regions?” He is doubtful, which is why he is focussed on helping to find a cure. “Our philosophy is that in order to cure H.I.V., we need to know where and why it persists,” he said.
In 1997, amid euphoria about HAART, people first started thinking seriously about a cure. Sooner or later, all infected cells die on their own. Could the right drugs in the right combination rout the virus for good? That year, David Ho published a paper in Nature in which he mathematically predicted that an H.I.V. patient on the HAART regimen should be able to conquer the detectable virus in twenty-eight to thirty-seven months. That issue also contained a very different report from Robert Siliciano, currently a Howard Hughes investigator at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Using an uncommonly sensitive measurement technique that he’d invented, Siliciano located H.I.V. in a type of helper T cell that provides memory to our immune system and normally survives for decades. Memory T cells are uniquely important: they recognize the antigens in infections and orchestrate speedy responses. But the virus proved to be even cleverer. It lay dormant in strands of host DNA, untouched by the drug cocktail, later springing back to life and degrading the immune system.

At sixty-two, lanky and circumspect, Siliciano is highly regarded in the tight-knit community of H.I.V. researchers. He met his wife and collaborator, Janet, in the nineteen-seventies, when she was a graduate student at Johns Hopkins, studying the proteins that T cells release when they encounter microbes. Now fifty-nine years old, with curly red hair and a hint of a New Jersey accent, Janet joined Bob’s lab after his paper appeared in Nature. She said that the idea was his, but Bob told me that Janet developed it over the next seven years, tracking the levels of dormant virus in patients consistently treated with HAART. Her data confirmed his thesis: the virus could survive almost indefinitely. “We calculated that it would take seventy years of continuous HAART for all the memory T cells to die,” she said.

Siliciano told me about the first time he saw the latent virus emerge in the memory T cells of an H.I.V. patient on HAART. The patient was thought to be cured. “He had been biopsied in every imaginable place, and nobody could find any virus,” Siliciano said. Researchers took twenty tubes of the patient’s blood, isolated the T cells, and divided them into multiple wells. The specimen was then intermixed with cells from uninfected people. If the healthy T cells became infected, the virus would reproduce and be released. Detection of the virus would be signalled by a color change to blue. Siliciano remembers sitting at his desk, talking with a visitor, when a graduate student burst in: “The wells are turning blue!” He said, “It was a very strange moment, because it was a confirmation of this hypothesis—so it was exciting—but it was also a disaster. Everybody came to the same conclusion: that these cells persisted despite the antiretroviral therapy.”

The Siliciano laboratory occupies the eighth floor of the Miller Research Building, at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The twenty-six-person research team—technicians, students, fellows, and faculty—works in an airy, open space and in a smaller Biosafety Level 3 facility on the north side of the building. There they handle the specimens of their clinic’s H.I.V.-positive subjects and many more from labs like Deeks’s worldwide. Inside a room with negative air pressure, researchers retrieve blood samples from an incubator and place them in a laminar flow hood, which draws up a stream of air. Nothing leaves the facility without being double-bagged and sterilized.
Much of the new AIDS research builds on the Silicianos’ foundational discovery of H.I.V.’s hidden reservoirs. So does their own work. Using potent chemicals, they have been able to draw H.I.V. out of its hiding places in memory T cells, assess the reach of the virus within the body, and begin to map where else it might be lodged.

Several years ago, they began looking at “blips,” the small, sudden jumps in viral load that sometimes occur in the blood of HAART patients. Physicians had been concerned that blips might be particles of virus that had become resistant toHAART and struck out on their own. The Silicianos believed otherwise: that the viral particles were released by latently infected cells that had become activated. They analyzed the blood of patients with blips every two to three days over three to four months, and their hypothesis proved correct: the virus had not become resistant to the drugs, but had been dormant in its reservoir within memory T cells. It could be intermittently released from the reservoir, even when the patient took antiretroviral drugs.

Although researchers were chastened by the realization that the drug regimen was not itself a cure, they recently found three unusual cases that were encouraging enough to make them keep trying. The first was that of Timothy Ray Brown.
Brown is known as the Berlin patient, after the city where he became the only person ever to have been cured of H.I.V. In 2006, more than a decade after he discovered he was H.I.V.-positive, he was given an unrelated diagnosis of acute myelogenous leukemia, a cancer of the bone marrow. After initial treatment, the leukemia returned. Brown needed a bone-marrow transplant. His hematologist, Gero Huetter, made the imaginative suggestion that they use a donor with a genetic mutation that shuts down the protein CCR5, a doorway for H.I.V. into helper T cells. On February 7, 2007, Brown received the transplant. One year later, he underwent the procedure again, and by 2009 biopsies of Brown’s brain, lymph nodes, and bowel showed that the virus had not returned, and his T-cell count was back to normal.
Brown’s cure was spectacular, but difficult to repeat. His doctor had twice destroyed all his native blood cells, with radiation and chemotherapy, and twice rebuilt his immune system with transplanted stem cells. It had been very dangerous and costly. Researchers wondered if they could create a scaled-down version. In 2013, physicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, reported on the outcome of a study in which two H.I.V.-positive men onHAART had received bone-marrow transplants for lymphoma. Their marrow donors, unlike Brown’s, did not have the CCR5 mutation, and their chemotherapy regimen was less intensive. HAART was stopped a few years after the transplants, and the virus remained undetectable for months, but then resurfaced.

This past July, results came in on the third case. In 2010, a girl known as the Mississippi baby was born to an H.I.V.-positive mother who had taken no antiretrovirals, and the baby had the virus in her blood. Thirty hours after delivery, the newborn started on antiretroviral therapy. Within weeks, the viral count fell below the limit of detection. The baby was eighteen months old when the treatment was interrupted, against medical advice. For two years, the girl’s blood showed no trace of the virus, and researchers speculated that very earlyHAART might prevent the virus from forming a dormant reservoir. Twenty-seven months after going off the drugs, however, the child tested positive for the virus. Though researchers were impressed that early intervention had temporarily banished H.I.V., she was not cured.

In August, Janet and Robert Siliciano wrote about the Brigham men and the Mississippi baby inScience, saying that the cases confirmed that researchers were on the right path in attacking latent infection. The Berlin patient was an even more compelling example. Karl Salzwedel, the chief of Pathogenesis and Basic Research in the Division of AIDS at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told me that until Timothy Brown “it wasn’t really clear how we would go about getting rid of the last bits of virus that remain in the reservoir.” Brown’s case provided “a proof of concept: it may be possible to eradicate latent H.I.V. from the body. It may be from a very risky and toxic method, but it’s proof of concept nonetheless.”

The new centerpiece of the American effort to cure H.I.V. is the Martin Delaney Collaboratories, funded by the N.I.H. Launched in 2011, the collaborative was formulated as a way to link clinical labs, research facilities, and pharmaceutical companies. Federal support was set at seventy million dollars for the first five years, on the premise of coöperation and open communication among all parties. Salzwedel told me that the N.I.H. funded three applications. “Each was taking a different complementary approach to trying to develop a strategy to eradicate H.I.V,” he said: enhancing the patient’s immune system, manipulating the CCR5 gene, and destroying the reservoirs themselves. They represented different responses to the Siliciano thesis and to the lessons of Timothy Brown.
Mike McCune, the head of the Division of Experimental Medicine at U.C.S.F., researches ways in which H.I.V. can be eradicated by the body’s own immune system. He was prompted by an observation made in the early days of the epidemic: that babies born to mothers with H.I.V. become infected in utero only five to ten per cent of the time, even though they are exposed to the virus throughout gestation. Recently, McCune and his colleagues observed that the developing fetal immune system does not react against maternal cells, which can easily cross the placenta and end up in fetal tissues. Instead, the fetus generates specialized T cells that suppress inflammatory responses against the mother, and that might also prevent inflammatory responses against H.I.V., thereby blocking the rapid spread of the virus in utero and sparing the child.
McCune has worked for many years with Steven Deeks and the SCOPE Study. When I spoke with McCune in San Francisco, he said, “There is a yin and yang of the immune system. We are trying to recapitulate the orchestrated balance found in the fetus.” McCune is now working on interventions that would prevent inflammation against H.I.V. in the adult, hoping to partly mimic the balance found in utero. He’s also developing methods that would allow the immune system to better recognize, and destroy, the virus when it manifests itself. These studies are being carried out on nonhuman primates, and may lead to human trials within a year or two.

In Seattle, a group headed by Hans-Peter Kiem and Keith Jerome is taking a more futuristic approach. Using an enzyme called Zinc Finger Nuclease, they are genetically altering blood and marrow stem cells so as to disable CCR5, the doorway for infection in T cells. Researchers will modify the stem cells outside the body, so that when the cells are returned some portion of the T cells in the bloodstream will be resistant to H.I.V. infection. Over time, they hope, those cells will propagate, and the patient will slowly build an immune system that is resistant to the virus. Those patients might still have a small reservoir of H.I.V., but their bodies would be able to regulate the infection.
The largest Collaboratory, with more than twenty members, is led by David Margolis, at the University of North Carolina. Margolis, an infectious-disease expert, is targeting the reservoirs directly. The idea, which has come to be known as “shock and kill,” is to reactivate the dormant virus, unmasking the cells that carry it, so that they can be destroyed. In 2012, he published the results of a clinical trial of the drug Vorinostat, which was originally developed for blood cancers of T cells, as a shock treatment. This October, “shock and kill” was widely discussed when the Collaboratory teams convened at the N.I.H., along with hundreds of other researchers, assorted academics, and interested laypeople. Margolis and his group explored in their talk new ways to shock the virus out of dormancy.
The killing stage is more challenging, because the shocked cells carry few H.I.V. antigens, the toxic flags released by pathogenic particles and recognized by the immune system prior to attack. One approach to the killing strategy comes from an unusual type of H.I.V.-positive patient who may carry the virus for decades yet seems not to be disturbed by it. Some of these so-called “élite controllers” possess cytotoxic, or killer, T cells that attack virus-producing cells. The objective is to make every H.I.V. patient into an élite controller through “therapeutic vaccination,” enabling patients to generate killer T cells on their own.
Researchers are also trying to switch off a molecule called PD-1, which the body uses to restrain the immune system. Deactivating PD-1 has worked in clinical studies with melanoma and lung-cancer patients, and one patient seems to have been cured of hepatitis C by a single infusion of a PD-1 blocker from Bristol-Myers Squibb.
Groups outside the Collaboratories who are testing ways to cure AIDS share their results with the N.I.H. teams. In parallel with the Seattle group, Carl June, the director of translational research at the Abramson Cancer Center, at the University of Pennsylvania, and his colleagues have used genetic engineering to close off the CCR5 passageway. In the New England Journal of Medicine this past March, they reported on their recent clinical trial, which showed that the modified T cells could survive in people with H.I.V. for years. Similar work on knocking down CCR5 is being done by Calimmune, a California-based company devoted to curing AIDS. (One of its founders is David Baltimore, who received the Nobel Prize for the discovery of reverse transcriptase, a crucial enzyme in retroviral reproduction.) Groups in Denmark and Spain have made progress, too, and in 2012 researchers in France analyzed the Visconti study, which had put the early intervention received by the Mississippi baby to a formal test. A subset of fourteen H.I.V. patients had been treated within weeks of their infection, and then HAART was interrupted. They remained free of the virus for several years.

The fight against AIDS is following a trajectory similar to that of the fight against many cancers. When I was growing up, in the nineteen-fifties, childhood leukemia was nearly always fatal. Eventually, drugs were developed that drove the cancer into remission for months or years, but it always came back. In the nineteen-seventies, researchers discovered that leukemic cells lay sleeping in the central nervous system, and developed targeted treatments that could eliminate them. Today, childhood leukemia is cured in nine out of ten cases.

This July, at the Twentieth International AIDS Conference, in Melbourne, Australia, Sharon Lewin, an infectious-disease expert at Monash University, said, “We probably are looking, at the moment, at trying to achieve long-term remission.” Most experts agree that remission is feasible, and that, to some degree, we will be able to wean patients off lifelong therapies.

Even the most cautious AIDS researchers place remission along a continuum, with a cure at the end. Robert Siliciano told me, “The first goal is to reduce the reservoir. And this is not just for the individual but also has a public health consequence.” For however long a person is off HAART, doctors would be able to divert resources to patients who still needed treatment.
David Margolis believes that his “shock and kill” strategy will work, but that it could take ten to twenty years. The Silicianos agree that more research is needed. “Shock and kill,” they said, will require more than a single drug like Vorinostat. And the optimal regimen can’t be identified until it’s clear precisely how much latent virus the body contains. The Silicianos have not yet developed a truly accurate measure. Only by following people who have been off all drugs for years would it be clear that a cure had been found. “The more we learn, the more questions there are to answer,” Janet told me.


Still, the questions that have been answered astonish AIDS scientists. At U.C.L.A. during the brutal first years, I never would have imagined that future patients would live into their eighties. A fatal disease has been tamed into a chronic condition. The next step is to find a cure. Scientists are innately cautious, and AIDS researchers have learned humility over the years. Science operates around a core of uncertainty, within which lie setbacks, but also hope. 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

TIME TO TACKLE CATHOLIC RIGHT WINGERS

TIME TO TACKLE CATHOLIC RIGHT WINGERS

Cardinal Raymond Burke
IT IS VITAL THAT POPE FRANCIS FIRMLY TACKLES THE ROMAN CATHOLIC RIGHT WING THAT ARE CAUSING PROBLEMS FOR HIM AND INDEED PROBLEMS FOR THE POST VATICAN 11 CHURCH.

Chief among these right wingers is Cardinal Raymond Burke who has taken upon himself the role of opposing Pope Francis as he struggles to purify a Vatican and a Church that is, sadly, corrupt to the very core.

Recently Burke has been claiming that the Vatican Curia comes from Jesus himself and cannot be reformed !!! What utter nonsense.

Jesus did not come into the world to found a new religion. He came into the world as a Jew - to bring Judaism to it's completion; to rescue it from the legalism of the Pharisees; to be the pinacle of God's revelation and to show us how to live.

Jesus lived, prayed and worshipped as a Jew. He died a Jew. The sign above his cross read: "The King of the Jews". 

The early followers of Jesus were mainly Jewish and after his death they continued to worship in the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and meet together in each others homes for the "Breaking of the Bread" as instructed by Jesus.

It was not until the early disciples were persecuted in Jerusalem and were forced to move to Antioch that they were called "Christians".

If Christianity has a "Mother Church" it is the church in Jerusalem. Antioch would have a second claim. Rome has no claim to be the Mother Church of Christianity - apart from the claim that the emperor Constantine made it the "Mother Church" of the West and Constantinople the "Mother Church" of the East.

Burke & Co have no basis for claiming that the Vatican, Rome and The Curia are from Jesus. In fact everything that the Vatican and the Curia stand for is - under proper examination - anti Christian; anti Gospel - and therefore in a real sense the anti Christ!

The "church" in each place should resemble the "church" that Jesus and his disciples practiced and the church that we find in the earliest of Apostolic times.

That "church" is small, powerless, democratic, compassionate and non-judgemental.

It had very few structures. Structure only began to emerge as numbers got bigger and as people began to teach things that were contrary to what Christ taught. But even then the elders, presbyters, overseers and deacons and deaconesses were SERVANTS and mot masters.

The early church was truly "ruined" when Constantine (who himself did not embrace Christianity in his lifetime) decided to make Christianity the religion of his empire. Thats when the rot set in. That's when the "powers of darkness" high-jacked the Body of Christ. And those same powers of darkness have been hijacking it ever since. Burke & Co are either knowingly or unknowingly on the side of the powers of darkness.

The church under the powers of darkness have been responsible for wars, persecutions, mass murder, crusades, witch hunts and inquisitions ever since. The same spirit which inspired all of those evils still inspires the so called "Curia" of today. It is all about control, power, lies, intrigue, riches etc. And it is a terminal cancer on the Body of Christ. 

The whole issue hinges around the Second Vatican Council of the early 1960's.

The Council was called by Pope John XX111 to open the windows and renew the Church after more that 400 years of stagnation.

The Council documents were agreed by the Council Fathers - all the bishops of the whole world.

One of the big changes was to change the Liturgy / Mass from latin into the "vernacular" so that each nation could celebrate the Mass in its own language.

But almost immediately the Council ended there were "dark forces" within the Vatican, the hierarchy and the Vatican Curia who wanted to undo all that had been done by the Council.  They began to steadily resist changes and to try and turn things back by 400 years.

These people were helped by the pontificates of John Paul 11 - a conservative and autocratic Pole - who was a PR master mind but who was in fact a medieval type pope.

That line was continued by Benedict who had been John Paul's "enforcer" in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - the old "Inquisition".

John Paul1 - the 30 day pope - wanted to reform the Curia. He ended up dead!

Currently Pope Francis is set on renewal. The "medievals", headed by Burke are against him. If they got the chance he would be dead too!

But the time has come for a definitive showdown between Pope Francis and those against reform.

The Old Latin Mass is the rallying place for all these right wing medievals.

I think that for the sake of unity and discipline Francis needs to temporarily BAN the Latin Mass to deprive the medievals of a rallying place.

I think that Francis should remove Burke's "red hat" and demand that he withdraw from public life within the church and from going around the world stirring up trouble.

If Burke and the right wingers do not accept this then let them head off and join the Le Febreve-ites or set up a Tridentine church of their own. We need to see the back of them. They need to be given this ultimatum. Francis is trying to maintain unity by half humouring these banana cases. But they are not reasonable and rational people. They are ignorant militants who want to take the whole church back to the Middle Ages.

Burke is a laughing stock going around dressed up like some kind of an ecclesiastical transexual relic from the 1600's.

I don't know why he is so out to get gay people. Anyone who dresses like him, to my mind, has serious psychosexual problems.



We are at a cross roads. We need to fight for the simple Community of Faith that Christ intended. The enemy are these medievalists who want a militaristic church militant that is totally out of touch with the real world and that is in defiance of rationality, reason and Gospel values.

+Pat Buckley
27.11.2014.











Sunday, 16 November 2014

BELFAST PARISH OWES BISHOP TREANOR £ 1.6 MILLION

BELFAST PARISH OWES BISHOP TREANOR £ 1.6 MILLION

Fr Strain owes £ 1.6 million


The "administrator" of Holy Family Roman Catholic parish has announced to parishioners that the parish owes Bishop Treanor and the Diocese of Down and Connor 1.6 million - and that money has to be paid.

Bishop Treanor looks to see when his £1.6 million is coming back


Father did say that the "good news" was that Bishop Treanor's interest rates are much more humane that those charged by the high street banks.



Father Strain explained that any surplus money in the parishes goes to Bishop Treanor - and then Bishop Treanor lends that money to parishes that need it.

I thought that odd? Does that not mean that parishes are borrowing their own money back from money they already gave to the bishop?

I wish people would give me money that I could then "lend" back to them.

That stunt is worthy of the most astute member of the Jewish and Scottish communities :-)

But the good parishioners of Holy Family were not happy with Father Strain's explanation.

In fairness to poor Father Strain he is between a rock and a hard place. He is caught between his bishop and his people.



But the Holy Family problem is bigger than that again.

Father Strain explained that the parish has a number of presbyteries (priest's houses) in disrepair as well as 3 churches that need ongoing repair and renovation.

Why has Holy Family three presbyteries when they only have one or two priests? Can those priests not live together in one house? Its not as if they all have wives and kids that would fight with each other.

Fr Daniel Delargey Adm, Holy Family - 2025 - 2035


And why, in these days of dwindling congregations and priests do they need 3 churches?

Would one church and a couple of minibuses for those without cars not do the job?

The other problem is that Father Strain is not the PARISH PRIEST of Holy Family parish.

Holy Family is a "mensal parish" and therefore it is Bishop Treanor who is the parish priest.

And he lives in another house in the parish that he has just finished renovating for between £ 1 million and £ 4 million. The uncertainty about this figure is down to that fact that Bishop Treanor is not willing to tell us how much exactly he spent on his palace.



If it was £ 4 million would that same money not have paid off Holy Family's debt and repaired all the other parish property?

And all this comes on the heels of it becoming public knowledge that Bishop Treanor is in fact an ABSENTEE BISHOP - spending a great deal of his time travelling around Europe and the world instead of being in his diocese doing his primary job.

In the last 6 years since he became bishop I wonder how much money Bishop Treanor has spent on flights and hotel expenses?



Rumours have reached this Blog that Bishop Treanor is planning world wide trips in 2015.



This Blog recently addressed the general crisis in Down and Connor.

Now we are beginning to see other crises developing in individual D&C parishes like Holy Family.

People like Father Strain, who is doing his best, should not be having to take the flack for the bigger monkeys higher up the tree. 



I think that it is high time the people of Down and Connor stopped giving to Sunday collections and started channeling their donations to causes like the Ebola crisis, world hunger, hospices etc.

+Pat Buckley
15.11.15

Friday, 14 November 2014

GROWING CRISIS IN DOWN AND CONNOR

GROWING CRISIS AND ABSENTEE BISHOP

Bishop Treanor at Verdun (2nd from left)
The Catholic Diocese of Down and Connor is drifting deeper and deeper into crisis - a crisis called mainly by it's "absentee" bishop Noel Treanor.



A D&C priest writing to this Blog in the past few days said:

"The Holy Spirit is everywhere and Bishop Treanor is everywhere except in Down and Connor"



Bishop Treanor recently called ALL his clergy together to a meeting at a religious venue just outside Newry. So disillusioned are the clergy that only half of them bothered to turn up!

This caused a furious Noel Treanor to send an email to all the priests lamenting the poor turn out and being critical of what he called the "Carryduff Question".



This Blog has had a copy of Bishop Treanor's email sent to it by one of the priests of the diocese.

What was the "Carryduff Question"?

The question was addressed to Bishop Treanor at the Newry meeting by a senior priest of the diocese with geographical connections to the Carryduff area of Belfast. Again his name is known to this Blog but out of respect for his privacy we are not naming him.

The question was: "Bishop Noel, is the poor turn out at this meeting not a sign of the fact that the priests of the diocese have lost confidence in your leadership"?

Treanor was apparently furious at this question and having floundered about for a brief period Noel decided that attack was the best form of defence. It seems to me - and to many others - that the faithful priest who asked this question has now been firmly put in the folder that is marked: "enemy" or "trouble maker".

Apparently Bishop Treanor's main theme at the gathering was how important it was for priests to look after Church funds and finances.



This prompted another question from the floor:

"Which particular Gospel imperative asks priests to look after Church funds and finances"?

Again Noel was enraged.

Had I been there I think I might have pointed out to Noel Treanor that the only Gospel precedent for priestly money managing was the precedent of Judas Iscariot!



Noel is now on the financial war path and is apparently planning a number of other clergy gatherings at various venues in the coming months.

Fathers!  Bring your parish accounts and your cheque books with you!

THE LEADERSHIP PROBLEM:

Noel Treanor came to Down and Connor in 2008 - 6 years ago.

The belief is that he came here reluctantly - as he was very happy in his Church desk job in Europe.



He was only supposed to be passing through Down and Connor on his way to Armagh and a cardinal's hat.

However he messed up his chances of Armagh in various ways - especially by choosing to have a very public row with Mr Ian Elliott - the former head of the Church's Child Safeguarding Board.

Ian Elliott


He is not supposed to be happy in Down and Connor. He does not like the place. He does not like the priests and regards them all as "problems".

He has infuriated clergy and people alike by spending a reported £ 4 million on restoring his palace in Belfast - replete with door handles costing £350 each and wallpaper at £100 a roll.



He has either an unfortunate personality or is a rude snob. His conversational and preaching style is to make people feel that they are being talked down to.

He is avoiding celebrating Confirmation ceremonies as often as he can and is sending out his ailing auxiliary bishop Tony Farquhar (70's) and the retired and nearly done Bishop Walsh (84) to represent him.

Paddy Walsh


He is appointing "vicars" to deal with other matters he should be dealing with personally - clergy, social affairs and education.

He is either not answering correspondence at all or taking months to reply to letters from clergy and laity.

In spite of the fact that he is now living (since last week) in a £ 4 million mansion he is never there.



He is away at the drop of a hat - on pilgrimages, trips to Europe, holidays, meetings, conferences etc - all of which are being payed for by the donations of the People of God.



Rumour has it that he has several long distance and world wide trips arranged already for 2015.

"I keep an overnight bag at the ready"


Its not unknown for people to call his mobile telephone number and be told by him that he is in a foreign country.

As a result of all these matters the Diocese of Down and Connor is basically leaderless. The Barque of Peter in Down and Connor is rudderless. The boat has no captain.



As a result it is quickly and definitively heading for the rocks!

The good priests in the Diocese - of which there are many - are very worried and concerned about this and are gradually losing heart.

The cynical and irresponsible priests are delighted. They are enjoying being mice in a household that has no resident cat!



They are having a great time - never in their parishes and always with their boyfriends (most common) or girlfriends (less common). They are also treating their parishioners like dirt. Any why not? If the Bishop can defecate on the priests surely the priests can do the same to the lowest form of Church life - the laity.

The sad thing about all of this though is that:

1. The Gospel is not being preached.

2. The sheep are without shepherding



3. The clergy are lost in a mist.

4. The Body of Christ (the Church) is being severely wounded.



Something must happen to stop this decline. That "something" must happen NOW!

Noel needs to change from being an aloof and absentee pastor into a good shepherd.



If he cannot - or will not - do that then -

He should immediately resign - and allow his scattered and frightened sheep to be cared for by a shepherd after the Lord's heart.

+Pat Buckley
14.11.14.

















Tuesday, 11 November 2014

ANOTHER CORRUPT OPERATOR HEADED FOR VATICAN

British archbishop who claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid handing documents to paedophile investigators is promoted to third highest role in Vatican by the Pope

  • Archbishop Paul Gallagher appointed by Pope Francis as foreign minister
  • Refused to hand over documents on two priests who abused 100 children
  • He was asked about Father Denis McAlinden as Church was aware of crimes
  • Also requested to give evidence about paedophile Father James Fletcher
  • But cited diplomatic immunity to avoid handing in response to requests 

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, 60, claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid handing documents to prosecutors investigating two paedophile priests
Archbishop Paul Gallagher, 60, claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid handing documents to prosecutors investigating two paedophile priests. A British archbishop, appointed by Pope Francis as his new foreign minister, claimed diplomatic immunity to avoid handing over Vatican documents to prosecutors investigating two paedophile priests.

Archbishop Paul Gallagher, 60, from Liverpool was promoted on Saturday to the third highest position in the Vatican as part of a reshuffle by Francis.
But the appointment of the former papal envoy to Australia to the Vatican's most senior hierarchy will be a blow for campaigners against clerical sex abuse.

Earlier this year the United Nations said it was 'concerned' after Mr Gallagher cited diplomatic immunity in response to repeated requests by prosecutors for documents on two priests that abused more than 100 children over 40 years.
A report by the UN Committee against Torture reported that the Holy See was still 'resisting the principle of mandatory reporting of allegations to civil authorities', and withholding information, citing Gallagher by name.
Only after months of bureaucratic wrangling and an embarrassing diplomatic standoff did the Archbishop eventually agree to turn over some of the documents which were wanted as part of an inquiry into Australia's worst abuse scandal.

The Maitland-Newcastle diocese has been described as the country's 'epicentre' of Catholic clerical abuse with 400 known victims.

Gallagher was asked for information on Father Denis McAlinden, an Irish priest who preyed on pre-pubescent girls was known to the church as a paedophile since the 1970s but for decades he was moved from parish to parish in Australia and posted overseas to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

He was eventually defrocked in a secret process in exchange for 'keeping his good name'.
The documents requested also referred to Father James Fletcher, who was convicted of abusing four victims over three decades including the rape of an altar boy, a crime for which he was sentenced to almost eight years prison, where he died in 2006.

Copies of correspondence released by the New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry show prosecutors requested documents from Gallagher on 30 August 2013.
The nuncio sent an interim response, stating that he was submitting the request to Rome but after no response almost two months later the prosecutors were forced to write again to both Gallagher and the Vatican to follow up the request.

Pope Francis recently appointed Mr Gallagher as his new foreign minister, the third highest position in the Vatican
Three weeks later Gallagher eventually replied reminding the commissioner that his office was 'the high diplomatic representative of the Holy See to the Commonwealth' and cited 'the protections afforded by international agreements, including the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations'.

The convention states that the archives and documents of a diplomatic mission 'shall be inviolable at any time and wherever they may be'. 

Without this 'high principle of international relations' 'diplomatic missions would no longer be able freely to carry out their domestic and international responsibilities', he claimed.
He was asked about Father Denis McAlinden, an Irish priest who preyed on pre-pubescent girls and was known as a danger   since the 1970s
He was asked about Father Denis McAlinden, an Irish priest who preyed on pre-pubescent girls and was known as a danger since the 1970s
He said his office would consider 'specific requests' for information, 'bearing in mind the expectation that it would not be appropriate to seek internal communications'.
On 14 November the NSW crown solicitor, Ian Knight, wrote to Gallagher for a third time.

In his letter Knight reminded the nuncio of a guarantee by Cardinal George Pell that 'every document the Vatican had' would be made available to a separate inquiry into child sexual abuse in the same year.

'Of course, this Commission is separate and distinct from both the Royal Commission and the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry,' Knight wrote, '
'But I trust that the sentiment of co-operation would similarly extend to this Commission's processes.'
Eventually on 6 December 2013 Gallagher forwarded copies of correspondence between the Bishop of Maitland−Newcastle and the then Nuncio, as well as other letters, which the commission already had copies of.

But he declined to forward any 'internal communications', between the Vatican diplomatic missions in Australia and in the Philippines saying 'Such communications are confidential, as is the case for those of the diplomatic missions of any country.'

Gallagher was appointed following the demotion of ultra-conservative American Cardinal Raymond Burke, who has led open opposition to Pope Francis' leadership saying the church is 'without a rudder'. 

PAT SAYS:


I'm truly disappointed that Pope Francis is taking another "wheeler and dealer" Catholic bishop to work in the Vatican :-(

Gallagher is obviously loyal to the RC institution BUT has no loyalty to Jesus Christ and His Teachings.

He was quite prepared to shield at least 2 priest paedophiles in Australia and thereby make it more difficult for the Australian authorities to achieve justice for abused children.

It is quite obvious to me that the RC Institution is guided by the Spirit of Darkness and not by the Holy Spirit.

The Vatican / so called Holy See is nothing but a ROGUE STATE.

They are in the same mould as the Mugabee's and Putins of this world.

Maybe there should be a Cardinal Mugabee and a Cardinal Putin?

+Pat Buckley
11/11/14.