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St. Louis Archbishop Not Sure If He Knew Sex With Children Was A Crime: WATCH

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The Archbishop of St. Louis, Robert J. Carlson, claims he does not know if he knew sex with children was a crime and that he does not know when he learned it was a crime, according to video of his recent deposition released June 9.

The St. Louis Post-Distpatch reports that the deposition was taken "as part of a sexual abuse lawsuit in Minnesota involving the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Diocese of Winona, Minn. The plaintiff in the case, only identified as “Doe 1,” claims to have been abused in the 1970s by the Rev. Thomas Adamson at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church in St. Paul Park, Minn."

From the video:

Attorney: Archbishop, you knew it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid. 

Carlson: Umm, I'm not sure whether I knew it was a crime or not. I understand today it's a crime. 

A: When did you first discern that it was a crime for an adult to engage in sex with a kid?

C: I don't remember. 

A: When did you first discern that it was a crime for a priest to engage in sex with a kid who he had under his control?

C: I don't remember that either. 

A: Do you have any doubt in your mind that you knew that in the 70's?

C: I don't remember if I did or if I didn't. 

A: In 1984 you are...an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of St. Paul in Minneapolis, you knew it was a crime then, right?

C: I'm not sure if I did or didn't. 

The Post-Dispatch reported on evidence that shows, however, that Carlson did know it was a crime then: 

In a 1984 document, for example, Carlson wrote to the then archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis, John R. Roach, about one victim of sexual abuse and mentioned that the statute of limitations for filing a claim would not expire for more than two years. He also wrote that the parents of the victim were considering reporting the incident to the police.

In another part of the deposition, Carlson says he knew it was a crime for a priest to touch the genitals of a child. Despite this, he says he never reported cases of sexual abuse that came before him—instead encouraging parents to report them on at least one occasion.

Watch the clip of the deposition, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "St. Louis Archbishop Not Sure If He Knew Sex With Children Was A Crime: WATCH" »


Queer Nation: Why is HRC Blasting Vatican While Pushing for ENDA with Terrible Religious Exemption?

Earlier this week we reported that the Human Rights Campaign had sent a letter to the Vatican requesting an audience with the Pope on behalf of nine teachers who have lost their jobs at Catholic schools for being LGBT or supporting an LGBT person.

Pope_griffinThe activist group Queer Nation sent out a press release yesterday calling HRC out for hypocrisy on the issue of religious discrimination because it is pushing for passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) which contains a terrible religious exemption.

Here's the full release from Queer Nation:

At the same time it is criticizing Roman Catholic schools for their anti-LGBT discrimination, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is lobbying in Congress for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that has a religious exemption that would allow that discrimination under federal law.

"All discrimination is immoral and HRC is right to object to what these schools are doing," said Ken Kidd, a member of Queer Nation. "So why is HRC spending millions in Congress to promote ENDA when that legislation has a religious exemption that will let Roman Catholic schools and other religiously-affiliated institutions fire LGBT people and perhaps even pro-LGBT people?"

In a May 27 press release announcing it had delivered a letter to the Vatican on behalf of nine Roman Catholic school teachers who were fired from their jobs for being LGBT or pro-LGBT, HRC called such discrimination "draconian laws" that are "designed to force LGBT people back into the closet and silence straight allies."

HRC noted that the firings were part of "a frightening trend" at Roman Catholic schools across America of including teacher contract clauses that bar LGBT people and pro-LGBT activities by teachers at these schools. In April, HRC collected over 30,000 signatures in a petition asking the Archdiocese of Cincinnati to remove the clause from its teacher contract, the press release noted.

"HRC can't have it both ways," Kidd said. "It can't criticize Roman Catholic schools for discriminating against LGBT Americans and then seek to make that discrimination legal under federal law. ENDA is a lousy bill and it should be scrapped. What the LGBT community needs is comprehensive federal civil rights legislation."

Queer Nation has been campaigning for a comprehensive federal civil rights law that bans discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, and federally-funded programs. The direct action group is using the hashtags #deadenda and #endaisnotequal.

ENDA's religious exemption is expansive and goes beyond the more limited exemption in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Five leading LGBT legal groups are not supporting the current version of ENDA, which only bans employment discrimination, because of its religious exemption. Lorri Jean, the head of the LA Gay & Lesbian Center, recently said that the exemption must be removed.

Matt Foreman, the former head of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and Cathy Marino-Thomas, the former board chair of Marriage Equality USA, have opposed ENDA and called for comprehensive federal civil rights legislation.


Teachers Fired from Catholic Schools for Being Gay Request Meeting with the Pope

The Human Rights Campaign has sent a letter to the Vatican requesting an audience with the Pope on behalf of nine teachers who have lost their jobs at Catholic schools for being LGBT or supporting an LGBT person.

FrancisSays the letter, in part:

We write to you today with humility to request a Papal audience. With loving eloquence you have explained that the role of the Church is to restore what is broken and unite what has been divided. In this spirit of wholeness and reconciliation, we hope you will agree to meet with us and our families to hear our stories.

“We have devoted years, some of us even decades, to serving our communities as teachers, leaders and role models. We have made a conscious choice to work within the Catholic Church because we strongly believe that a Catholic education prepares our young people to be responsible citizens, men and women for others. For each and every one of us, our employment was far more than just a job – it was a reflection of our core Catholic values.”

...All of us were fired for whom we love – whether it be for committing ourselves to one person, and one person only, for the rest of our lives, or for embracing and supporting our own children unconditionally. Love is one of the greatest gifts God bestows upon us, and we can think of nothing more sacred than loving another human being through challenges, sicknesses and times of distress. The Church celebrates this type of sacred commitment. But for some reason, it rejects that same commitment when it’s between loving LGBT people. For some reason, it rejects that love when a mother embraces her LGBT child.

Read the full letter here.


Pope Compares Sex Abuse by Priests to a 'Satanic Mass', Says There Will be Zero Tolerance: VIDEO

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Pope Francis told reporters on a plane trip back from the Middle East on Monday that he would meet with sex abuse victims at the Vatican next month and liked sex abuse by priests to a "satanic Mass," Reuters reports:

Asked about whether he would move against bishops who were accused of sexual abuse, he said "there will be no daddy's boys" and no privileges, adding that three bishops were currently under investigation.

"Sexual abuse is such an ugly crime ... because a priest who does this betrays the body of the Lord. It is like a satanic Mass," he said in some of the toughest language he has used on a crisis which has rocked the Church for more than a decade.

"We must go ahead with zero tolerance" he said.

Watch Francis make the remarks, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Pope Compares Sex Abuse by Priests to a 'Satanic Mass', Says There Will be Zero Tolerance: VIDEO" »


Catholic School Apologizes For Removing Yearbook Picture of Female Student in Tuxedo

The Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep school in San Francisco has apologized following outcry over the school’s decision to remove the yearbook photo of senior student Jessica Urbina because she was wearing a tuxedo rather than the mandatory dress for female students.

The Advocate reports:

UrbinaThe removal of the photo was widely criticized as the news spread. Urbina’s fellow students united to support her by creating a social media campaign and participating in a demonstration Friday, which saw hundreds of students wearing ties to school protesting the school’s decision. “I’ve cried multiple times, overwhelmed with all this support,” Urbina told the Chronicle.

The backlash prompted the school to issue an official apology Monday from president John Scudder Jr. and principal Gary Cannon, who applauded the students for their support of Urbina. “Given the nature of this specific case,” the administrators said, “we believe that decision, while conforming with our policy, was wrong.”

School officials say the dress code will soon be updated to no longer require female students to wear dresses in an effort to be more sensitive every student’s gender identity, but they realize they “still have much growth to achieve.”

The administrators added, “As a school, we must better learn how to support our students who are navigating issues of gender identity.”


Top Brazilian Bishop Endorses Civil Unions for Gay Couples

Leonardo_SteinerThe secretary general of the National Confederation of Brazilian Bishops has endorsed civil unions for same-sex couples, becoming the first national church leader to do so since Pope Francis suggested back in March that the Catholic Church might consider supporting such arrangements.

BuzzFeed reports:

“There needs to be a dialog on the rights of shared life between people of the same sex who decide to live together. They need legal support from society,” Bishop Leonardo Steiner said.

Steiner made clear the church still opposes marriage for same-sex couples, which Brazil’s National Council of Justice made legal last year. “The difficulty is in deciding that marriages of people of the same sex are equivalent to marriage or family,” Steiner said, adding that he believes the measure should have been voted on by congress instead of being enacted by the judiciary.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of gay relationships, but certainly a step in the right direction.  


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