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Anyone who has watched network or cable news, read a newspaper, logged on to a blog or a news website in the past couple of weeks has been inundated with information of the Catholic Sex Crisis.  (I keep calling it a crisis, because “scandal” just doesn’t start to cover it. )  New revelations of bishops and their minions covering up sexual crimes by clerics around the world seem to come out on a daily basis.  Add to that the statements by the Vatican about “gossip”, the passage of a South Dakota law to severely limit the ability for victims to seek out justice and the constant chatter on the Catholic message boards about who is at fault for the continuing “Catholic Bashing” and I really don’t know where to start.

Not knowing really where to go with all this, I decided to start with what I know.  For me, that is my blog, my frustration with the Catholic Church, in general (both the hierarchy and the parishioners that continue to enable the pedophile protection policy); the Diocese of Scranton in particular; the  number of people who are searching for priests, by name, and  finding my blog.  There is more of an interest in this crisis as evidenced by the tenfold increase in traffic to this blog.  My concern is that the interest in the blog is fleeting.  I just don’t think that Catholics get it.  They continue to allow the hierarchy of the Church squander any remaining credibility the Catholic Church may have once had.  Of course that credibility was based on fear, deception and the threat of hell.  But many Catholics still buy into the infallibility of people who are coming to be seen as what they really are, mortal and seriously flawed.

In the past week I have seen a marked increase in the number of search engine searches for Father Robert Gibson (Gibson is the priest that raped me at age 13).  We are not talking four or five searches, more like forty or fifty hits on this blog in the last week for that monster.  I have no way to divine the motives of the person or persons who are searching for him, but if you are searching for this priest for the same reasons I did a few years ago, please contact me.

As for the Pope and his propaganda spin machine,  I have to fall back on an often used statement.  “I know he was lying, his lips were moving”. There are so many coming to Ratzinger’s aid pleading that the man did not have time to read memos while he was the Archbishop of Munich or he was unaware of cases while he headed up the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s department handling the canonical review of pedophile priests.  To them I say, BULLSHIT!  Again, I have to draw on almost 24 years of service in the Navy.  When in command, COMMAND!  Ratzinger is in charge, he is responsible for the actions of his subordinates, even if he was not read in.  If he wants to blame someone else, maybe he should step down and retire to Berchtesgaden.  He can sit around and sing some of the songs he remembers from his youth.  Maybe, during his time wearing a brown shirt, he learned how to blame others to divert attention away from his own failures.  If this man is only a “caretaker” pope, lets hope we don’t have to wait long for a change.  

One final note before I wrap this up tonight.  There may be another predator in the Diocese of Scranton who is still actively grooming potential victims.  Be on your guard. If you are seeing the signs of a man who is acting very strangely around children, especially in light of all the recent revelations of pedophiles within the church world-wide , TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS.  If you are right you may be saving the life of a child.  If you are wrong (and I don’t think you are) it is better to err on the side of caution.  More to come, one way or another.


I am not one for press releases.  This one, however, crystalized many of the thoughts I have been trying to sort out this week. Please give it a careful read.

For immediate release: Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Statement by Peter Isely, Midwest Director of SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (414-429-7259)

America’s bishops have joined the “circle the wagons” chorus, more intent on protecting prelates’ reputations than on protecting children’s safety.

Instead of exposing predators and helping victims, America’s bishops busy themselves with self-congratulations and public relations. They tout their plentiful but largely ineffective policies, panels and procedures which were adopted as public relations moves. Since 2002, they have done little but water down and increasingly ignore their pledges of greater openness, confident that ‘the wave has crested’ and they have little to fear from more victims, lawsuits, prosecutions or media exposes.

Once again, bishops still refuse to use the words “bishop” or “cover up” when talking about a crisis caused by bishops covering up. This statement, like so many others, tries to minimize this crisis, blaming only the predators and ignoring their corrupt supervisors.

As an update to an earlier post, according to the South Dakota Legislature website, the Governor of South Dakota signed HB 1104 into law on 23 March 2010.

South Dakota is now, officially, a haven for pedophiles and their apologists. I think Mount Rushmore  and the Black Hills just fell off my bucket list.

To refresh your memory, The meat of the statute reads as follows:

Any civil action based on intentional conduct brought by any person for recovery of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within three
years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or three years of the time the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by the act, whichever period expires later. However, no person who has reached the age of forty years may recover damages from any person or entity other than the person who perpetrated the actual act of sexual abuse.

I recieved an email today from a SNAP leader up in Pennsylvania. A survivor in Iowa is looking for information on the predator that abused him as a child. The name of the predator priest is Peter J. Dunne of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

This particular priest is a real piece of work. I am going to provide you some links to allow you to read up on what this “man of god” did to children and how the Archdiocese of Philadelphia protected him while the victims received no such consideration.

I would like to provide a quick summary on this guy before you start checking out links. “Father” Peter Dunne was ordained in 1954. He is a diocesan priest who served in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He has been publicly accused of abusing 3 teenage boys and 1 boy of unknown age. The Archdiocese allegedly learned of abuse in 1986. As a result, Dunne was sent for treatment and then reassigned (code for: allowed to return to ministry by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia in a new parish with a fresh, unsuspecting crop of potential targets). He has reportedly paid 1 victim $40,000 for his silence. He retired from active ministry in 1995, after 41 years of diocesan assignments, no doubt leaving a trail of victims in his deviant criminal wake. In 2004 he was placed on permanently restricted ministry with no faculties. He has accepted a supervised life of Prayer and Penance. Put another way, he is collecting a pension, living in an Archdiocese of Philadelphia subsidized environment with no repurcusions for the damage he has caused.

Peter Dunne took boys on trips to Iowa. Nice! Crossing state lines with minors for the purpose of committing sexual crimes!  He knew that taking the kids to a unknown environment, completely cut off from family, friends,  or other familiar forms of support would make them more vulnerable and dependent on him.  This is the kind of priest that the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been sheltering and providing a pension.

A civil suit was filed in Iowa in 2008.

 If you are a survivor of sexual abuse by Father Peter J. Dunne and would like to talk to other survivors of this perp or you have information on Dunne please contact me or Karen Polesir (SNAP Pennsylvania)by email.  If you contact either of us by email we will keep your  information confidential and put you in contact with the survivor who is looking for information.  If you want to pass on information without passing along your contact information to the other survivor, we will respect that request.  If you want to provide information by commenting on this blog indicate in that comment if you want that information to appear in the comment section of the blog.  

Click on the following links for information:
The Philadelphia Grand Jury Report on Reverend Peter J. Dunne
Morning Call 9.22.05
Philadelphia Inquirer 9.25.05
City of Angels 1.15.09
City of Angels 1.17.09
Philadelphia Inquirer 10.14.05
Morning Call 10.27.05
Archdiocese of Philadelphia Website 9.26.05

The Holy Vader

Scary, isn't it?

From the Death Star (Vatican): Emperor, oops, POPE Benedict XVI  has issued a pastoral letter to the people of Ireland concerning the findings of two reports commissioned by the Government of Ireland.  The letter was meant to be a way of communicating with  the faithful in Ireland on the never-ending sex crisis in the church.  Pope Benedict, who bears a striking and oddly appropriate likeness to Emperor Palpatine (of Star Wars notoriety), is hoping that this letter will be a salve on the wounds in the church in Ireland.  

The pastoral letter did not really accomplish it’s mission. People in Ireland have not been receptive to the “his Holiness'” advances (pun intended). Instead of a letter that is contrite and makes a statement of the committment of the Holy See to take immediate and decisive action to weed out perpetrator priests and the bishops that hid their actions and victimized the survivors, the pope (or his subordinates) developed a rambling passive aggressive missive that, at the end of the day, does nothing to correct the wrongs committed by priests in Ireland or anywhere else. The way the letter was crafted is telling. The passive voice is used throughout, almost qualifying each statement. He carefully lays blame for the crisis firmly within the borders of Ireland, “I must also express my conviction that, in order to recover from this grievous wound, the Church in Ireland must first acknowledge before the Lord and before others the serious sins committed against defenceless children.” The Vatican is not complicit in any of this…

 “In recent decades, however, the Church in your country has had to confront new and serious challenges to the faith arising from the rapid transformation and secularization of Irish society. Fast-paced social change has occurred, often adversely affecting people’s traditional adherence to Catholic teaching and values.” It is not a church problem, it is the heathen secular society in Ireland that allowed this situation to manifest itself.

 “On several occasions since my election to the See of Peter, I have met with victims of sexual abuse, as indeed I am ready to do in the future. I have sat with them, I have listened to their stories, I have acknowledged their suffering, and I have prayed with them and for them.” Come sit with me for a while. Virginia is nice this time of year. I would love to bend your pontifical ear for a few hours. You may have indeed heard what you were told, but did you listen? You have acknowledged suffering, WOW! What is missing in the letter is the passage that says (and this is what I wish I saw, not what was written): “I have removed from ministry all credibly accused priests, deacons, nuns and laity in the church to protect children. Where there were substantiated instances of abuse, I removed the offending perpetrator from church service and turned over to the civil authorities all evidence held by the local Diocese or by the Holy See relevant to the case, regardless of the statutes of limitations. I have directed (ordered) bishops to go to the parishes to seek out other victims and inform the parishioners of the predator that was in their midst, even if it was 20, 30, 40 years or more ago. I have removed from positions of authority all representatives of the church who enabled the predators to continue to target children by either ignoring credible reports, hiding evidence, unduly influencing or coercing victims, moving predators from parish to parish or moving known dangers out of one diocese to another to stay one step ahead from law enforcement.”

 This from the man who headed up the Congregation for the Dorctine of the Faith during the papacy of his predecessor, John Paul II. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the arm of the Vatican that, among other things, investigates Sex Crimes committed by priests under its mandate to oversee matters of canon law. More importantly it is the propaganda arm of the Vatican. The spin on the sex crisis is mastered from the office once held by Cardinal Ratzinger, now the successor to the See of St. Peter.

 We will see this “expression of papal sympathy” again and again. Coming soon to Germany, perhaps? One must wonder about then Cardinal Ratzinger’s knowledge of predator priests in the Archdiocese of Munich. It will also manifest itself in the Netherlands, Scandinavia, Western Europe, Africa and South America. This is a global crisis that will not be dealt with effectively as long as the Papal strategy in dealing with the crisis is based on trying to get people in the pews for the Sunday Morning Magic show, money in hand for the offering plate. It will not be solved until the Pope takes immediate and decisive action to remove predators and all the bishops and high level officials that have had a hand in covering up the criminal activities of predators in priestly garb.

 This crisis will not end until civil authorities take criminal and civil action against predators and their protectors. As long as civil authority bows down to the church and allows them to “deal” with the predators internally, the environment of secrecy will prevail, the abuse will continue and church will go merrily down the path of denial, distraction and deception.

 Oh by the way, if the Pope or his advisors are reading this, I would still like to nominate St. Rita as the Patron Saint of Victims/Survivors of Church Sex Crimes. Thanks….

The South Dakota legislature passed HB 1104 severely limiting the civil avenues for victims of child sexual abuse by creating harsh a harsh statute of limitations. The text of the bill is available from an earlier post on this blog.

The South Dakota Legislature has a tracking site for all bills working through the State House. You can find the current status and the prior milestones for this bill at the 2010 Session – Bill History section of their website. The link for HB 1104 can be found here.

The enrolled version of the bill reads as follows: (An ENROLLED BILL is the final version passed in identical form by both chambers and sent to the governor for signature)

AN ACT
ENTITLED, An Act to limit the source of recovery in certain civil actions for childhood sexual
abuse injuries.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. That § 26-10-25 be amended to read as follows:
26-10-25. Any civil action based on intentional conduct brought by any person for recovery of
damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within three
years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or three years of the time the victim
discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was caused by the act,
whichever period expires later. However, no person who has reached the age of forty years may
recover damages from any person or entity other than the person who perpetrated the actual act of
sexual abuse.

This weekend in over 30 locations around the country, survivors of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy members will be gathering in solidarity with victims of abuse in Ireland and around the world. Organized by SNAP, these vigils are intended to bring awareness to the ongoing problems of Catholic Clergy preying on children and vulnerable adults.

The events will be held at the following locations:

CA – Rancho Mirage, Sunday, March 14 at 3:00 PM
Whitewater Park, 71-560 San Jacinto Drive (Major Cross streets are HWY 111 & Bob Hope Drive)
Contact: Dave Price, 760-219-3635

CA – Los Angeles, Sunday, March 14 at 10:45 AM
Cathedral of Our Lady of Angels, 555 W. Temple St (at N Grand)
Contact: Carlos Perez, 818-723-8016

CA – Oakland, Sunday, March 14 at 12:00 PM
The Cathedral of Christ the Light, 2121 Harrison Street (Between 21st & Grand)
Contact: Melanie Sakoda, 925-708-6175

CA – San Diego, Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 12:30 PM
Cathedral of St. Joseph, 1535 Third (corner of Third and Beech)
Contact: Paul Livingtson, 619-677-7133

CA – San Francisco, Sunday, March 14 at 9:00 AM
St. Mary Cathedral, 1111 Gough Street (Between Ellis & Geary)
Contact: Melanie Sakoda, 925-708-6175,

CT – Hartford, Sunday, March 14 at 11:30 AM
St. Joseph Cathedral, 140 Farmington Ave (corner of Farmington and Sigourney)
Contact: Beth McCabe, 860-335-8187 & Kathy Rector, 860-384-4372

CO – Colorado Springs, Sunday, March 14 at 9:15 AM
St. Mary Catholic Cathedral, 22 W Kiowa St.
Contact: John Murphy, 719-322-6597

DC – Washington, Saturday, March 13 at 6:30 PM
Irish Embassy, 2234 Massachusetts Ave. N. WE
Contact: Becky Ianni, 703-801-6044 & David Lorenz, 301-906-9161

DC – Washington, Sunday, March 14 at 1:00 PM
German Consulate, 4645 Reservoir Rd. NW
Contact: Becky Ianni, 703-801-6044 & David Lorenz, 301-906-9161

FL – Miami, Sunday, March 14 at 10:30 AM
St. Mary’s Cathedral, 7525 NW 2nd Ave
Contact: Barbara Dorris, 314-503-0003

FL – Orlando, Sunday, March 14 at 11:45 AM
St. James Cathedral, 215 N Orange Ave. (at Robinson St.)
Contact: Robert Keane, 386-676-0298

FL – Palm Beach Gardens, Sunday, March 14 at 1:30 PM
St. Ignatius Cathedral, 9999N Military Trail
Contact: Barbara Dorris, 314-503-0003

FL – St. Augustine, Sunday, March 14 at 11:45 AM
Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine, 38 Cathedral Place
Contact: Kristine Ward, 937-272-0308

FL – Venice, Saturday, March 13 at 4:15 PM
Epiphany Cathedral, 350 Tampa Ave West
Contact: Barbara Dorris, 314-503-0003

IL – Chicago, Saturday, March 13 at 1:00 PM
German Consulate, 676 N. Michigan
Contact: Barbara Blaine, 312-399-4747

IL – Chicago, Sunday, March 14 at 1:00 PM
Holy Name Cathedral, 730 N Wabash
Contact: Therese Albrecht, 708-263-3050

IL – Peoria, Sunday, March 14 at 11:15 AM
The Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, 607 NE Madison Avenue (at Hancock St)
Contact: Jeff Jones, 815-985-9441

IL – Rockford, Sunday, March 14 at 10:00 AM
St. Peter Cathedral, 1243 N. Church St.
Contact: Kate Bochte, 630-768-1860

IL – Springfield, Sunday, March 14 at 9:30 AM
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, 241 E. Lawrence
Contact: Jeff Jones, 815-985-9441

IN – Fort Wayne, Saturday, March 13 at 6:00 PM
Immaculate Conception Cathedral, 1100 South Calhoun
Contact: Therese Albrecht, 708-263-3050

IN – South Bend, Sunday, March 14 at 9:30 AM
St. Matthew, 1701 Miami Street
Contact: Therese Albrecht, 708-263-3050

KY – Louisville, Saturday, March 13 at 5:15 PM to 6:45 PM
Cathedral of the Assumption, 433 S. 5th St. (between Muhammed Ali and Liberty)
Contact: Colleen Powell, 502-479-0246

MA – Boston, Saturday, March 13 at 1:30 PM
Federal Building, 55 New Sudbury St.
Contact: Ann Webb, 617-513-8442 & Robert Costello, 781-414-1178

MD – Baltimore, Saturday, March 13 at 12:30 PM
Office of the Chancellor, 320 Cathedral Street
Contact: Dave Lorenz, 301-906-9161 & Frank Dingle

MI – Detroit, Sunday, March 14 at 10:30 AM
Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, 9844 Woodward Ave
Contact: Barbara Blaine, 312-399-4747

MO – Columbia, Sunday, March 14 at 11:30 AM
St. Thomas More Newman Center, 701 Maryland Ave., (corner of Turner Ave.)
Contact: Judy Jones, 636-433-2511

MO – St. Louis, Sunday, March 14 at 6:00 PM
St. Louis Cathedral, 4431 Lindell (corner of Lindell and Newstead)
Contact: Peggy Fitzpatrick, 314-845-9438

NC – Charlotte, Saturday, March 13 at 5:00 PM
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 1621 Dilworth Road, East
Contact: David Fortwengler, 704-562-4529

NY – New York, Sunday, March 14 at 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 5th Ave. & 49th St.
Contact: Mary Caplan, 917-439-4187 & Glen Echevarria, 646-763-4260

OH – Columbus, Sunday, March 14 at 11:15 AM-12:30 PM
Across the street from St. Joseph Catholic Cathedral, 212 E Broad St
Contact: Carol Zamonski, 614 447-2084

OH – Dayton, Sunday, March 14 at 11:45 AM
St. Joseph’s Church, 200 2nd St.
Contact: Ginny Hoehne, 973-726-9360

OH –Toledo, Sunday, March 14 at 12:00 PM
Holy Rosary Cathedral, 2535 Collingwood Ave
Contact: Barbara Blaine, 312-399-4747

PA – Philadelphia, Sunday, March 14 at 1:00 PM – 1:30 PM
St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, 100 E Wynnewood Rd., Wynnewood, PA 19096
Contact: Karen Polesir, 267-992-9463

RI – Providence, Saturday, March 13 at 11:00 AM
Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul, One Cathedral Square
Contact: Ann Barrett Doyle, 781-439-5208 & Ann Webb, 617-513-8442

TX – San Antonio, Saturday, March 13 at 1:00 PM
San Fernando Cathedral,115 Main Plaza
Contact: Barbara Boehland, 210-725-8329

WI – Madison, Saturday, March 13 at 9:45 AM
Diocese of Madison- Pastoral Center, 702 South High Point Road (at Donofrio Dr.)
Contact: David Clohessy, 314-566-9790

I will be attending the event at the Irish embassy in Washington D.C. on Saturday at around 6:30 PM. If you can support one of these events, please do so. It seems that the “discovery” of abuse and cover ups are not declining, but are actually increasing as victims come forward and civil authorities are finally taking the claims of survivors seriously and investigation not only the criminals who committed these crimes, but the hierarchy of the Catholic Church that has protected these monsters for decades.

You need only look at the widening crisis in Ireland, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and the United States to see that the Catholic Church has been criminally complicit in covering up the crimes of its priests and other religious.

Governor Mike Rounds of South Dakota is all that stands between justice for victims of sexual crimes and the creation of a state haven for pedophiles in the “Mount Rushmore State”.

An article in the Argus Leader explains how misguided lawmakers want to limit the ability of victims of sexual crimes to seek justice. The article, Lawmakers want to limit sex abuse lawsuits, explains that South Dakota House Bill 1104, the brainchild of Chamberlain lawyer Steven Smith (605-734-5581), was sponsored by
three Republican lawmakers in the state.

The text of the bill is as follows:

State of South Dakota

EIGHTY-FIFTH SESSION

LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY, 2010

682R0391
HOUSE JUDICIARY ENGROSSED NO. HB 1104 –
2/10/2010
Introduced by: Representatives Deadrick and Juhnke and Senator Garnos

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to limit the source of recovery 1 in certain civil actions for
childhood sexual abuse injuries.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:
Section 1. That § 26-10-25 be amended to read as follows:
26-10-25. Any civil action based on intentional conduct brought by any person for recovery
of damages for injury suffered as a result of childhood sexual abuse shall be commenced within
three years of the act alleged to have caused the injury or condition, or three years of the time
the victim discovered or reasonably should have discovered that the injury or condition was
caused by the act, whichever period expires later. However, no person who has reached the age
of thirty-five years may recover damages from any person or entity other than the person who
perpetrated the actual act of sexual abuse.

The limitation of the right to seek a civil action in the state by any victim of sexual crimes is a win for the pedophiles, rapists and deviants  that prey on children and vulnerable adults as well as the institutions or organizations that protect and sometimes hide these monsters from criminal prosecution. This legislation further victimizes those who have already been criminally violated by predators. One must wonder why these three lawmakers would try to pass legislation that is intentional punitive to victims. I would suspect that they are being well compensated by organizations with known problems with pedophile lawsuits. Or perhaps they are just naturally sympathetic to pedophiles and rapists. These are obviously the kinds of people who should not be in a position of authority.

If you want the governor to veto this bill, send him an email! You can also contact the Legislative Research Council and tell them you are not pleased with this bill. Do not wait, it does not matter if you are a resident of a state other than South Dakota. Make your voice heard.

If you are a resident of South Dakota, understand one of the unintended consequences of this potential law will be the influx of pedophiles and other sexual criminals into the safe haven within your state borders. Let your Governor know you are opposed to this bill, NOW!

Related South Dakota news stories:
KELOLAND.com
ArgusLeader.com

I am refraining from any comment as it may be construed as insensitive or disrespectful. I will say that any loss of life is tragic, especially when it could have been prevented.

From the Citizen’s Voice in Pennsylvania:

Priest dies in Minn. while seeking drug treatment

By Jeremy G. Burton (Staff Writer)
Published: March 5, 2010
A local Catholic priest with a history of drug problems died Thursday afternoon in Minnesota, where he was seeking treatment at a rehabilitation facility.

The Rev. James B. Shimsky, 50, was admitted to St. Mary’s Hospital at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., after “developing a medical problem,” the Diocese of Scranton said on its Web site. He had been residing at a nearby rehab program. Shimsky was arrested Jan. 30 after police said he was seen buying cocaine from his parked car in North Philadelphia. Since July, he was pastor of St. John Vianny parish in Scott Township, though he had been on leave since his arrest. He also previously served in Wilkes-Barre, Tunkhannock, Dunmore and Carverton.

Shimsky was known to be open with parishioners about having a history of addiction. He volunteered ministering to recovering addicts at Clearbrook Manor.

Diocese spokesman William Genello said he did not know anything about the cause of Shimsky’s death.

Bishop-elect Joseph C. Bambera called Shimsky’s passing a “great loss.”

“He had willingly embraced his treatment program, and he was working hard to address his issues,” Bambera said in a statement.

Shimsky was a Scranton native, ordained in 2001.

jburton@timesshamrock.com

There is just isn’t anything new under the Vatican sun.  Perhaps if they were seeking women there would be shock and outrage.

From the Guardian:

Vatican hit by gay sex scandal

Vatican chorister sacked for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for papal gentleman-in-waiting

The Vatican was today rocked by a sex scandal reaching into Pope Benedict’s household after a chorister was sacked for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for a papal gentleman-in-waiting.

Angelo Balducci, a Gentleman of His Holiness, was caught by police on a wiretap allegedly negotiating with Thomas Chinedu Ehiem, a 29-year-old Vatican chorister, over the specific physical details of men he wanted brought to him. Transcripts in the possession of the Guardian suggest that numerous men may have been procured for Balducci, at least one of whom was studying for the priesthood.

The explosive claims about Balducci’s private life have caused grave embarrassment to the Vatican, which has yet to publicly comment on the affair.

While Catholicism does not condemn homosexuality outright, its teaching is that homosexual acts “are intrinsically disordered”. The Catechism of the Catholic church states unequivocally: “Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

Balducci was arrested on 10 February, suspected of involvement in widespread corruption. A senior Italian government official, he is alleged to have to steered public works contracts towards favoured bidders. He has not been charged.

It was during this investigation into corruption that wiretaps revealed his alleged sexual activity. In one conversation, Ehiem tells Balducci: “I saw your call when I was in the Vatican, because I was doing rehearsals … in the choir … in St Peter’s.” He then suggests Balducci meet a man who he describes is “two metres tall … 97 kilos … aged 33, completely active.”

Balducci is also a senior adviser to the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, the department that oversees the Roman Catholic church’s worldwide missionary activities.

Since 1995, he has been a member of one of the world’s most exclusive fraternities – the Gentlemen of His Holiness, or Papal Gentlemen, the ceremonial ushers of the papal household. In the words of a 1968 ordinance, they are expected to “distinguish themselves for the good of souls and the glory of the name of the Lord”.

According to a report by the Carabinieri for prosecutors in Florence investigating the corruption scandal, there was a hidden side to Balducci’s life. “In order to organise casual encounters of a sexual nature, he availed himself of the intercession of two individuals who, it is maintained, may form part of an organised network, especially active in [Rome], of exploiters or at least facilitators of male prostitution.”

It named one as Ehiem, a professional chorister born in Nigeria. According to Italian press reports, Ehiem, a member of the choir that sings in St Peters when the pope is not officiating, lost his job on Wednesday after details of the Florence investigation became known to the Vatican.

In an interview to be published tomorrow by the news magazine Panorama, Ehiem said he had been introduced to Balducci more than 10 years ago. He claims: “He asked me if I could procure other men for him. He told me he was married and that I had to do it in great secrecy.”

Vatican hit by gay sex scandal

Vatican chorister sacked for allegedly procuring male prostitutes for papal gentleman-in-waiting

There were conflicting accounts of how the Vatican might respond. According to one source, there was no provision for the dismissal of a Gentleman of His Holiness. Another said: “We shall wait for the judiciary’s definitive verdict.”

The transcripts imply that over a period of around five months in 2008, Ehiem procured for Balducci at least 10 contacts with, among others, “two black Cuban lads”, a former male model from Naples, and a rugby player from Rome.

Balducci’s lawyer, Franco Coppi, said tonight: “I have no comment. First, because we have more serious questions to tackle. Second, if these claims are correct, they regard his private life. It is disgraceful that these transcripts, which have nothing to do with the case, should have been spread about.”

In January this year, the Carabinieri recorded an exchange in which Balducci and Ehiem discuss a seminarian, or student for the priesthood. Balducci is said to have asked: “Listen, have you spoken with the seminarian by any chance?” Ehiem says he is “probably at mass or something”. On 11 January, Ehiem calls again to recommend “a colleague, a friend” of the seminarian because the latter is unavailable. He says the colleague is “better, taller, a bit taller than you”. Later, Ehiem asks: “Can I send [him] around straight away?”

He asks where Balducci is. The adviser says: “Up at the seminary … where the cardinal lives.” Ehiem replies: “He could get there within half an hour … the time it takes to catch a taxi and get there.”

Copyright

This site is copyrighted by my statement.
Michael Baumann


Credit: Michael Baumann at "Off My Knees"

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