Friday, May 11, 2012

The scandal of the Legionaries of Christ

Today the CDF have been informed of another seven cases of suspected abuse.

First abused, then castrated- article and television programme

20 Minuten Online - Erst missbraucht, dann kastriert - History

Henk Heithuis was abused for years by priests. When he resisted, he was castrated. Over fifty years later, the past catches up with the Catholic Church in the Netherlands.

The children of the Heithuis family in 1939 with Henk (2nd from left)

Hardly anyone knew Henk Heithuis when he was killed in a car accident on 28 October 1958 when only 23 years old. Today, fifty years after his untimely death, the sad fate of the Dutchman is extensively covered in the international press – from the "Spiegel" to the FAZ to the "Telegraph".

The media interest has a reason: The name of the young man at the centre of a scandal brings shame on the Roman Catholic Church in the Netherlands and also reaction in politics. This is because Heithuis, who spent nearly his entire life in Catholic homes and boarding schools, was there not only sexually abused but the church prompted his castration, supposedly to cure his homosexuality.

From the confessional to the surgeon

Worse still, the unfortunate Heithuis was perhaps just one of several victims who were castrated. This is the suspicion at least of the journalist Joep Dohmen who in mid-March with an article in the Dutch newspaper "NRC Handelsblad" started public interest. Dohmen found evidence of a total of ten cases, but without official documentation. There have probably have been many more such cases, Dohmen told the station "Omroep Brabant ' , but it is very doubtful whether these victims would come forward now – as they would be all old men.

That what emerges here is just the tip of the iceberg is indicated by the statements of two surgeons who were interviewed by the Professor of Medical History, Mart van Lieburg. Van Lieburg said in April before the Second Chamber of Parliament that the surgeons were urged in the 50s and 60s by a Catholic bishop to castrate gay youth and men (Cathcon- he modified his initial statement that the Bishop was effectively giving orders for this to be done. Suggesting it is bad enough.). In addition homosexual priests have sent young people to speak directly to the surgeon from the confessional.

Dubious gaps in the final report

The political sensitivity of the Heithuis case is also shown by the bad light is shines on the Deetman Commission which had investigated, on behalf of the Catholic Church, tens of thousands of abuse cases from 1945 to 2010. Although the Commission was notified in writing of the Heithuis case, it was not mentioned in the final report of December 2011. Nor does the final report of the Deetman Commission shed light on the dubious role of Victor Marijnen. The politician of the former Catholic People's Party (KVP) and later prime minister sat until 1959 on the Board of the boarding school (in fact Chairman) where Heithuis and dozens of other students were abused. According to the journalist Dohmen Marijnen in 1958 urged the pardoning of monks who had been convicted of abuse.

Heithuis shortly before his death

The inhuman treatment of the pupil Heithuis would probably never come to light publicly if it had not been for Cornelius and Ijsbrand Rogge. The now 79 and 82 year old brothers got to know Heithuis in 1957. The young man who was both physically and psychologically damaged by his castration told them his harrowing life story: how he was raised as a foster child in Catholic homes. He had been abused in the Harreveld Home from 1951-1954 again and again. When he finally rebelled in early 1956 and brought an action against the priests - the victim was made a perpetrator and he was sent to the Roman Catholic-run psychiatric facility, Padua House. And then he was castrated at St. Joseph Hospital in Veghel. Heithuis at that time was only 20 years old and according to applicable law at that time still a minor.

"There was nothing left down there"

The Rogge brothers saw exactly how the young man had been "treated" when he once showed them the remainder of his genitals. "He let down his pants, and there really was nothing left down there," Cornelius Rogge told the TV programme "Nieuwsuur" . Heithuis in 1957 sued the psychiatric facility because of the Padua House castration. The lawsuit was still pending when he died a year later in a car accident. After his death the Rogge brothers spent decades trying to make the story public - but no one wanted to believe them. It was only Joep Dohmen who has published several articles about abuse in the Catholic Church who began to investigate seriously.

Henk Heithuis did not escape the grip of the Catholic Church even after his death: He was buried with a Catholic ceremony - against his express wishes.

Short television report- English sub-titles

Cathcon has managed to locate a picture of the Prior Gregorius who ran Harreveld. The establishment was first Franciscan but it had taken over by the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul who were running it at the time. It was taken over by the Frentrop Foundation in 1970 and now run as a closed unit on modern principles.
"The Foundation Frentrop Widdonck provides a versatile form of youth services: consultation, intensive outpatient care, foster care and residential care. It provides the specialist residential care for girls and boys with severe handling problems and behavioral disorders, while the Therapeutic Family Care (TGV) provides specialized foster care to children in foster homes."

Prior Gregorius departed for Canada two days after the allegations were made. Also in the picture are Marijnen and the then Inter-Nuntius Giobbe who was visiting the school. Giobbe later became Cardinal- one wonders how much he knew.

Padua House was run by Belgian Sisters of Mercy of Ronse from 1870-1986. The mother house also ran the hospital in Ronse but that they seem to have faded away in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council.

Vatican considers making John Paul II a saint in 2015

KATH.NET - Katholischer Nachrichtendienst

A Polish newspaper reports: there is "serious discussion" in "high church circles in Poland and the Vatican", that Pope Benedict XVI would make his predecessor a saint in 2015 at the Catholic World Youth Day.

In Poland, there is speculation about a possible canonization of Pope John Paul II (1978-2005) in 2015 in Krakow, the city of which he was bishop, according to reports in the well-informed newspaper "Rzeczpospolita" this Friday. A name does not name the source sheets.

According to the report, the consultant to the Vatican Congregation for Saints, Father Szczepan Praskiewicz sees "no formal obstacles" to Benedict XVI for the first time performing a canonisation away from the Vatican. The Krakow Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, secretary to former Pope has been seeking to host since 2011 official World Youth Day. Where the big event will take place and whether in 2015 or 2016, will be announced in July 2013 at the next World Youth Day in Brazil's Rio de Janeiro.

In Poland, the call for a swift canonization of John Paul II is great. The Warsaw Cardinal Kazimierz Nycz however has recently spoken out publicly against an acceleration of the canonization process. John Paul II was beatified a year ago on 1 May 2011, by his successor Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square. It was the shortest process in modern church history.

The Vatican is currently investigating several reports of unexplained healings, which took place ​​at the intercession of Pope John Paul II (1978-2005). The postulator of the canonization process, Slawomir Oder, said in early May, there "three or four cases" where the initial medical examinations have taken place. For canonization, the official recognition of another miracle at the intercession of the deceased is required, which must have taken place after the beatification . As part of the beatification process, the healing of a French nun of Parkinson's disease in June 2005 was recognized as a miracle.

German politicians argue about response to Islamic extremism

Islam: Union drängt auf härtere Gangart gegen Salafisten - Nachrichten Newsticker - News1 (AFP - Journal) - WELT ONLINE:

The CDU is pushing for a hard line against radical Salafists. Federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU) has threatened the violent Islamist organization with bans and expulsions, and received support from the CDU. The SPD called for a crackdown on violent criminals. However, the Greens and the Left Party warned about promoting anti-Islamic sentiment in the Nord-Rhein Westfalen (NRW) election campaign.

He would "consider every opportunity" to ban Salafist organisations, Friedrich told the ARD "Morning Magazine". This was about Salafists who are ideologues, "who want to eliminate our free democratic basic order." The question of expulsions of violent Salafists could only be answered on an individual basis. Of course, it was possible under certain conditions for "criminally convicted violent criminals" to be expelled from Germany. However, no-one could be deprived of citizenship, "if they have no other".

According to Friedrich, there were Salafist groups already under investigation with the aim of the ban. They would have then been disbanded to escape the ban. It should be assumed that there were about 4,000 supporters of the Salafists in Germany. Without question, the Salafis have "an ideological proximity" to the al-Qaeda terror network, Friedrich told the "Rheinische Post".

The consistent application of the law includes "banning Salafist organizations," said the chairman of the Interior Committee in the Bundestag, Wolfgang Bosbach (CDU), to Die Welt.  Deputy Chairman of the CDU Group, Günter Krings said that Salafism could be the breeding ground for terrorism. In view of the violent events of last weekend, he said, such acts always justify deportation, if the perpetrators were foreigners.

Socialist parliamentary group manager, Thomas Oppermann, called for "strict prosecution and severe punishment of such abuses, including bans on associations." At the same time. he made a statement critical of Frederick : "On association bans you cannot just talk big , they must be imposed."

In contrast, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) warned against a "politically colored analysis": the rule of law would be able to deal adequately with such problems."

Green Party leader Claudia Roth accused the Union in the "Augsburger Allgemeine" of fomenting "a generalized anti-Islamic sentiment.""The attempt use such a sentiment to make cheap campaign points in North Rhine-Westphalia is irresponsible." The Left Party MP, Jelpke Ulla said: "Instead of crusading rhetoric, a prudent use of the rule of law in dealing with violent religious fanatics is required."

At the meeting of right-wing organization "Pro NRW" and Salafist protesters were on Saturday in Bonn two policemen were stabbed. During another anti-Islamic demonstration of "Pro NRW" in Cologne on Tuesday, ten Salafists were detained.

Leading dissident calls Catholic Church a dictatorship

Küng vergleicht Katholische Kirche mit totalitären Systemen | Politik - Frankfurter Neue Presse - Frankfurt:Always contentious: Hans Küng (right) in a program with Thomas Gottschalk.  (Archive photo: Reuters)

Küng compares Catholic Church with totalitarian systems.The theologian and papal critic Hans Küng sees the Catholic Church as an apparatus of power, which throughout the world has more and more parallels dictatorships. With the help of informers and surveillance, bishops are tamed , a dissenting opinion not being allowed.

The theologian Hans Küng sees in the Catholic Church more and more parallels with dictatorships. The Roman Curia has succeeded in shaping the bishops of the world through close supervision and with the help of informers into a docile machine, the 84-year-old professor said on Thursday in a commentary for the "Sueddeutsche Zeitung". This apparatus recalls "in its power structure, the leading cadres in totalitarian and dictatorial systems, where no one dares to express a dissenting opinion." The "medieval polarising" Pope Benedict XVI is blocking reforms and thereby knowingly risks the collapse of pastoral care and parishes, Küng wrote.

He also exercised strong criticism at the Catholic Congress where almost 30,000 participants for the whole event are expected and tens of thousands of daily visitors. "The laity should be assured rather than take seriously that the lack of reform in Mannheim will result in initial talks. "Therefore, he had refused an invitation to the great voluntary forum whose slogan is "a daring new departure".

If the Catholics wanted to actually accomplish changes in the church, they should have the courage to stand up to the official church, Kung said. "Bishops are not due any obedience, when they themselves are disobedient to the Gospel, when they make the laws governing the welfare of the church congregations and parish priests," said Kung. The Vatican withdrew from the theologian his license as a Catholic professor in 1979 because of his persistent criticism of the Pope.

Cathcon- this appears on first reading to be the same old Küng set in the same old groove. The former colleague of the present Pope when both were progressive theologians chose a different path. However, his refusal to attend the Mannheim Catholic Conference is indicative of a more radical edge that has crept into the rhetoric of dissent in the Catholic Church. The post-conciliar generation, whether in Austria or Ireland, sense that power is slipping away from them, as their age advances and they therefore determinedly re-assert it.