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Clergy Sexual Abuse Study: It’s Time for Common Sense

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By: Louie Verrecchio

April 1, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Here we go again. The skeletons of clergy sexual abuse are once again being resuscitated by ambitious lawyers and finding sensational new life in a secular media that is increasingly uninterested in reporting the facts.

Now don't get me wrong; the instances of abuse themselves are absolutely reprehensible; that much is indisputable. As Cardinal Ratzinger said of these terrible transgressions shortly before becoming pope, "How much filth there is in the church, even among those who, in the priesthood, should belong entirely to God."

Whenever the root cause of this "filth" is discussed, faithful Catholics need to pay close attention as those who are less interested in cleansing the Church than attacking her moral foundation make themselves known through their actions.
 
Sometimes it's entirely predictable, as when increasingly irrelevant liberal dissenters like Richard McBrien and Hans Kung perform logical gymnastics to avoid the 300 pound homosexual elephant in the room, but when we see indications that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops might be inclined to join them on the balance beam of political correctness, that's another story.

At the USCCB Fall General Assembly in Baltimore in November of 2009, the bishops received a preliminary briefing from researchers of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice on a report they commissioned in 2006 for insight into the clergy sex abuse scandal.

According to the original research proposal, one of the study's stated objectives is to "understand, on an individual level, how priests with allegations of sexual abuse differ from other priests."

According to Catholic News Service, Margaret Smith, one of two John Jay researchers to address the Fall Assembly, gave the bishops a sense for where the study is heading, saying, "At this point, we do not find a correlation between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse," she said.

This raises some obvious questions, but before we examine the implications of Ms. Smith's statement, let's considers what we know about the victims of the clergy sex abuse as reported by third party sources.

In a 2002 study conducted by USA Today, it was determined that of the 234 priests that have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor while serving in the nation's ten largest dioceses, 91 percent of the allegations involved male victims. [1]

The Boston Globe reported similar findings in 2003 saying, "Of the clergy sex abuse cases referred to prosecutors in Eastern Massachusetts, more than 90 percent involve male victims, and the most prominent Boston lawyers for alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse have said that about 95 percent of their clients are male." [2]

Also noteworthy is research conducted by Dr. Thomas Plante of the Department of Psychology at Santa Clara University who found that 80 - 90 percent of the alleged victims of abuse were post-pubescent adolescent boys - not prepubescent children - meaning that the abusers in these cases "are not pedophiles at all but are ephebophiles" (i.e. they demonstrate a sexual attraction to mid-to-late adolescents). [3]

Now let's consider Ms. Smith's assertion that heterosexual priests are just as likely to commit abuse as homosexual priests. If she is correct, we should expect the ratio of priests accused of abusing post-pubescent females to those accused of abusing post-pubescent males to mirror the demographics of the priesthood as a ratio of heterosexuals to homosexuals.  
 
So, do the researchers at John Jay College really mean to imply that some 90% of the priesthood in the U.S. is homosexual?

The question alone is so preposterous as to border on the offensive, but 9:1 is the ratio of priests accused of abusing adolescent males to those accused of abusing adolescent females. Applying this same ratio to the sexual orientation of the priest population as a whole is simply the logical extension of Ms. Smith's assertion that both groups present an equal risk of abuse.

If, as I assume, Ms. Smith and her colleagues do not mean to imply that homosexual priests outnumber their heterosexual counterparts 9 to 1, it's only common sense to expect the USCCB to demand a plausible explanation for the overwhelming preponderance of male victims.  

Karen Terry, a colleague of Ms. Smith who also addressed the USCCB assembly, may have preempted questions concerning the small percentage of female victims when she cautioned the bishops, "Even though there was sexual abuse of many boys, that doesn't necessarily mean that the person had a homosexual identity."

"It's important to separate the sexual identity and the behavior," she continued. "Someone can commit sexual acts that might be of a homosexual nature but not have a homosexual identity." 

Excuse me? If researchers don't consider an adult male's sexual attraction to a teenaged boy a flashing neon sign for homosexuality, then I'm not entirely sure I want to know what they do consider proof.

Undaunted in their effort to explain the homosexual connection away, however, Ms. Terry said that greater access to boys is one of the reasons for the skewed ratio of male victims, and Ms. Smith even went so far as to raise the analogy of homosexual activity among prison populations as supporting evidence.

One cannot help but be outraged by this transparent attempt to gloss over the obvious link between homosexuality and the incidence of clergy sexual abuse, but far more troubling than this is the fact that the USCCB should have known that this is exactly what it was going to get even before it earmarked $1 Million for the John Jay back study in 2005. 

Writing in First Things Magazine in 2004, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus made the following observation:

"In its report and its February 27 presentation, the John Jay team was manifestly nervous about the homosexuality factor. The woman making the slide presentation at the National Press Club skipped over the data on adolescent males in a nanosecond. A perhaps jaundiced network reporter remarked afterwards about the downplaying of the homosexuality factor, 'Remember that the John Jay people have to go back and get along in New York City.'" [4]

In that same article, Fr. Neuhaus said that the USCCB's very own Nation Review Board had also made note of the problem:

"The John Jay report notes that the proportion of victims who were male increased in the 1960s and reached 86 percent in the '70s, remaining there through the 1980s. In a footnote, the NRB report responds to the frequent obscuring of the homosexual factor by reference to 'ephebophilia.' The authors write, 'The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (IV) does not recognize ephebophilia as a distinct disorder. Ephebophilia is thus not a disorder in the technical sense, but rather a newly coined descriptive term for homosexual attraction to adolescent males.'" [ibid]

While it is prudent to withhold ultimate judgment on the value of the John Jay study until the final report is published in December 2010, it's not too soon for the faithful Catholics who are footing the bill for that $1 Million research grant to let their bishops know that we will not accept unsubstantiated claims in return for our hard earned money.

It's time to let our bishops know that we expect well-documented correct information, not political correctness. We want the "filth" cleaned out of the Church; and we will not tolerate any attempt to sweep it under the carpet.

Let me be clear - I am utterly convinced that the overwhelming majority of our bishops, just like us, are determined to identify the true underlying cause of clergy sexual abuse no matter how politically incorrect that discovery may be. But I am equally as convinced that only the naëve simply assume that the same can necessarily be said of the bureaucratic entity known as the USCCB.  

Time and again the USCCB has demonstrated that it has a personality all its own; a group-think tendency toward political correctness and watered down rhetoric that is all-too-often at odds with the bishops individually. The remedy is for us to encourage our faithful shepherds to wrest control of the bureaucracy and to demand, along with us, that the light of truth be shined on this problem - political correctness be damned.  

For instance, we need our bishops to demand that the John Jay researchers substantiate their claims by providing convincing evidence - not just rhetoric - which unequivocally demonstrates that a very large percentage of the abuse cases actually involved instances of heterosexual priests molesting adolescent boys. 

This means that the bishops must insist that the final report provide rock solid demographic data concerning "sexual identity" in the priesthood; since anything less means that claims of "no correlation existing between homosexual identity and the increased likelihood of subsequent abuse" are built on mere assumption and are therefore utterly worthless. Think about it; if the John Jay researchers don't know with a high degree of certainty how many priests are actually homosexual, there is absolutely no way they can speak with any authority whatsoever about the relationship between homosexual identity and the incidence of clergy sex abuse.   

The simple truth is this; the information offered thus far by Ms. Smith and Ms. Terry is so entirely inconsistent with the cases of reported abuse as we know them on the one hand, and common sense on the other, that it can't help but raise substantial red flags. The time to insist on real answers is now, not after the John Jay report is delivered and endlessly spun to the advantage of homosexual activists and ecclesial dissidents the world over.

You may make your concerns known by contacting your local bishop, or you may write to Cardinal Francis George - President of the USCCB at 3211 4th Street, N.E., Washington DC 20017-1194.

Above all, we must pray for our shepherds, that that they will be unimpeded in their desire to seek the truth and intrepid in making it known for the good of the Church.  

1. "The Accusers and the Accused," USA Today, November 11, 2002, p. 7D.
2. Thomas Farragher and Matt Carroll, "Church Board Dismissed Accusations by Females," Boston.com, February 2, 2003.
3. http://www.psychwww.com/psyrelig/plante.html
4. http://www.firstthings.com/article/2009/02/the-catholic-reform—41

Louie Verrecchio is a Catholic speaker and the author of Harvesting the Fruit of Vatican II; an internationally acclaimed faith formation tool endorsed by George Cardinal Pell that explores the documents of the Second Vatican Council.

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‘It’s another boy!’: 4th video goes into heart of Planned Parenthood fetal body parts lab

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By Pete Baklinski

Urgent: Sign the petition demanding that Congress investigate and defund Planned Parenthood here

July 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Workers in a lab are seen sorting through body parts on a dish: a heart, stomach, kidney, and legs.

And then a medical assistant suddenly announces: "It's another boy!"

This is just a little of the macabre and heart-wrenching footage in the newest undercover video showing alleged harvesting and sale of body parts from aborted babies by Planned Parenthood, released Thursday morning.

The newest video also shows a Planned Parenthood medical director negotiating a fetal body parts deal while agreeing to prices for harvested parts, and suggesting ways to avoid legal consequences.

"For anyone with a conscience, the video's entire fetal organ scene is wrenching -- to the gut as well as the heart. It hearkens us back to the days of Joseph Mengele or Kermit Gosnell, who both coldly killed and dissected children without remorse," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman, in a press release.

The video takes the viewer into Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, where Vice President and Medical Director Dr. Savita Ginde discusses with actors posing as representatives from a human biologics company a potential partnership to harvest fetal organs.

When one of the actors posing as a buyer asks the doctor if “compensation could be specific to the specimen?” Ginde agrees. As the camera travels to the abortion clinic’s pathological laboratory to reveal the aftermath of a real abortion of a baby boy, Ginde tells the buyer that the abortion clinic would rather receive payment per body part harvested, rather than a standard flat fee for the entire case.

“I think a per-item thing works a little better, just because we can see how much we can get out of it,” she is heard saying on the video.

Planned Parenthood hit national headlines last month after undercover videos released by the pro-life group Center for Medical Progress (CMP) showed top officials from the nation’s largest abortion provider discussing the sale of body parts harvested from babies aborted at their facilities. Those behind the undercover videos say that selling the body parts for profit is a violation of federal law.

Yesterday, the California Superior Court issued a narrow temporary restraining order preventing CMP from releasing further undercover video footage involving top-level staff of StemExpress, the company that purchases the body parts from Planned Parenthood. 

Project Lead David Daleiden is using the fourth video to call for an immediate ending to Planned Parenthood’s funding.

“Elected officials need to listen to the public outcry for an immediate moratorium on Planned Parenthood’s taxpayer funding while the 10 state investigations and 3 Congressional committees determine the full extent of Planned Parenthood’s sale of baby parts.”

“Planned Parenthood’s recent call for the NIH to convene an expert panel to ‘study’ fetal experimentation is absurd after suggestions from Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Ginde that ‘research’ can be used as a catch-all to cover-up baby parts sales. The biggest problem is bad actors like Planned Parenthood who hold themselves above the law in order to harvest and make money off of aborted fetal brains, hearts, and livers,” he said. 

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"It really stretches credibility to say that Bush or his people wouldn’t have known that the foundation pushes abortion and other population control efforts," said Stephen Phelan of HLI Andrew Cline / Shutterstock.com
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Jeb Bush was director of philanthropy that gave tens of millions to Planned Parenthood

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By Ben Johnson

Analysis

NEW YORK, July 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Until the eve of his presidential campaign, Jeb Bush was director of a philanthropy that gave tens of millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood and financed its advocacy of "unrestricted access to abortion" around the world. The charity also approved money to global abortion providers while he sat on its board.

In 2010, Jeb was named one of the founding directors of the Bloomberg Family Foundation, established as a tax-exempt foundation to advance the vision of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He resigned from the board at the end of 2014 to prepare his presidential campaign.

While a Bush spokesman has responded to concerns by saying that Bush would not have voted on every initiative of the foundation, a pro-life leader told LifeSiteNews it "stretches credibility" that Bush was unaware of the foundation's pro-abortion work, given the centrality of such work to the foundation's mission, and its scope.

LifeSiteNews reached out to Bush for comment, but did not hear back by press time. 

$50 million to 'reproductive health' and Planned Parenthood

In March of 2014, the Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $50 million undertaking to expand "reproductive health," including lobbying foreign nations to loosen restrictions on abortion.

Bloomberg announced a major partnership with Planned Parenthood-Global to train and equip abortion activists in pro-life countries.

"In 2014, we started supporting local nonprofit organizations in Burkina Faso, Senegal, Uganda, and Nicaragua to advocate for better policies in their countries that will expand access to comprehensive reproductive health services," the foundation stated. "These organizations will receive technical assistance from Planned Parenthood Federation of America – Global Division to help augment their capacity for effective advocacy." 

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards greeted the news by saying that "governments need to play a stronger role to ensure that all women have access to the health care they need" - including abortion - "no matter who they are, no matter where they live.”

Bloomberg clarified how the partnership would work while receiving Planned Parenthood's Global Citizen Award at its annual gala last March 27.

"We'll Push for Less Restrictive Abortion Laws"

"I am happy to say our major partner in this project will be Planned Parenthood - Global," Bloomberg said. "In some countries, our funding will help advocates work towards better sexual health policies for teens and better access to contraceptives. In others, we'll help push for less restrictive abortion laws and more government funding for high-quality, accessible services."

Such advocacy was "necessary," he continued, because "there are plenty of outside interest groups funding the other side of these issues, and we cannot let them go unanswered."

"This is a fight to women control their own destinies," Bloomberg said. "And let me tell you: We are in it to help them win it, and we're gonna stay in it until they do."

"Together we can succeed," he concluded. "Thank you for this award. God bless."

As head of a foundation with $5.4 billion in assets, which awards more than $200 million a year, the three-term mayor of New York has put his money where his mouth is.

Funding Global Abortion Providers

One aspect of his philanthropy's overall health initiative is to underwrite "reproductive health services in the most remote areas of" Tanzania. Although all grants say they are intended "to reduce maternal deaths," alongside the CDC and the World Lung Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies has funded two abortion providers.

In 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies approved a  a grant of $1,818,000 for EngenderHealth, and another $250,000 for Marie Stopes International - Tanzania.

"EngenderHealth works to ensure reproductive rights of Tanzanian women and their families by integrating family planning with HIV and comprehensive abortion care services," the group states on its website. 

The group also touts the fact that its expansion to all 26 regions of the country "has also contributed to an increase in uptake of long-acting and reversible methods," especially Implanon. Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) work both by preventing conception and by "alterations in the endometrium," which can cause an early abortion by preventing implantation.

Marie Stopes is known as a global abortion provider. MSI states that it only provides "post-abortion care" in Tanzania, where abortion is legal only to save the life of the mother.

But Marie Stopes officials have admitted that the group performs illegal abortions. 

"We do illegal abortions all over the world," Paul Cornellison, the director of Marie Stopes International in South Africa, said during a Marie Stopes International conference in 2007 in London - remarks that were caught on film. "There's various options, you know, once we open a center there...if we can just get our foot in the door." 

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In other nations, Bloomberg has supported advocates of unlimited, universal abortion-on-demand.

"Abortion services should be made free...for all women and girls"

Bloomberg Philanthropies underwrites political advocacy in African and Central American nations whose laws reflect the pro-life outlook of its citizens. The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) offers a glimpse into what international abortion lobbyists demand.

Between 2012 and 2014, IPPF wrote a 32-page case study on the Senegalese legal landscape, entitled Over-Protected and Under-Served. While numerous participants told researchers that abortion is "easy" to obtain and “lots of young people are having clandestine abortions,” IPPF focused on promoting "safe" abortion -- while making clear that such laws were only one components of its overall mission. 

"Advocacy efforts should focus on realizing the ultimate goal of unrestricted access to abortion services, and protection of this right under the law. Abortion services should be made free, safe, accessible and confidential for all women and girls," the report states.

The abortion industry signaled it rejects incremental aims to achieve the eventual recognition of abortion as a human right. "Anything other than full decriminalization will often lead to abortion remaining inaccessible to all but a very small number of women," the report says.

The task of pressuring government officials will fall to local activists in the nations targeted by Bloomberg because, in the words of Kelly Henning, the head of the public health program at Bloomberg Philanthropies, "We want this effort to be sustainable." 

If the effort fails, it will not be for lack of resources. In a separate component of its reproductive health plan, Bloomberg partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to enact Family Planning 2020's global reproductive and population goals.

Is Jeb "Ultimately Accountable"?

The association with Bloomberg conflicts with Jeb's record as a two-term pro-life governor of Florida who enacted parental consent laws, allowed the regulation of abortion facilities, did not allow state funds to be used for abortion counseling, and created the state's "Choose Life" license plate.

As one of more than a dozen directors - which include such distinguished names as former Sens. Sam Nunn and David Boren, currently Sen. Cory Booker, and former Bush-43 officials Elaine Chao and Hank Paulson - what responsibility does the former Florida governor bear?

The issue bubbled up in April, giving his yet-unannounced campaign an opportunity to respond.

“Governor Bush was honored to serve on the board of Bloomberg Philanthropies, which does a lot of good work across the world,” Bush spokeswoman Kristy Campbell told the Tampa Bay Times. "As a board member, Governor Bush did not vote on or approve individual projects or programs."

Although Bush and Bloomberg "disagree on several policy issues, both share a passion for improving education in America," she added - a reference to their mutual embrace of the Common Core curriculum and other policies.  

A spokeswoman for Bloomberg Philanthropies, Meghan Womack, confirmed to the newspaper that directors do not sign off on every project.

But what to what extent was Bush active in the issue?

According to nonprofit norms, directors carry deep responsibility for the organizations they help lead. "Regardless of what board members are called, they are in essence the trustees in the literal and legal sense of the term," the National Center for Nonprofit Boards wrote on the responsibilities of board members. "No matter how the organization is structured or the degree of authority delegated to staff, committees, or affiliates, the board and therefore the individual trustees are ultimately accountable."

Bloomberg Philanthropies noted in a press release, "The directors will serve in an advisory and oversight capacity." Bush earned $37,100 in compensation for his nearly five years of service.

"Bush’s people are probably right that as a board member he did not vote on every project," Stephen Phelan, the director of mission communications at Human Life International, told LifeSiteNews. "But Bloomberg has been so open about his foundation’s goals for so long that it really stretches credibility to say that Bush or his people wouldn’t have known that the foundation pushes abortion and other population control efforts."

Bloomberg clarified his goals while accepting his Planned Parenthood award last year. "You can't fight every battle," he said. "The things that are high on my priority list are sensible gun laws...I obviously care about a woman's right to choose...Nobody's a bigger supporter of gay rights." He added that "we need a good immigration bill" that provides amnesty for an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, "so we can continue our economy."

Bloomberg has described abortion as a "fundamental human right, elevating it to a make-or-break position. "On this issue, you’re either with us or against us.” He once cited abortion among his reasons for endorsing Barack Obama in 2012. 

Despite their differences on abortion policy, the billionaire has had no reservations supporting Jeb Bush's candidacy - even before there was one.

Last spring, he called Jeb and Hillary Clinton "two quality” candidates and "the only two who know how to make the trains run."

He also showered compliments upon Bush while introducing him to the New York State Republican Party convention in 2010. 

“I couldn’t agree more with this guy,” he said of Jeb. “If there’s anyone I would want on my side waging all those important battles and helping provide the government Americans deserve, it is our next speaker."

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Planned Parenthood says ‘extremists’ brought down website: critics say possible ‘PR stunt’

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By John Jalsevac

Updated 07/30/15 at 1:57 EST

July 30, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - At the same time as a fourth video exposing Planned Parenthood's practice of harvesting and selling aborted baby body parts was released Thursday morning, visitors who attempted to access Planned Parenthood's website were greeted with a message saying, "Our site is not available due to an attack by extremists."

The page announcing the attack stated that "200,000 people a day are now being blocked from information and care by this attack," and directed visitors who wanted to find out more to Planned Parenthood Action Fund's Facebook page. 

At that Facebook page, the abortion giant states that the attack is a "new low" by anti-abortion extremists, and asks for donations to help them "fight back." 

However, some are raising questions about the purported attack, pointing out that a look under the hood shows that content from the site appears to be loading without a problem from Planned Parenthood's web server, while they have categorized the "site down" message as a "campaign."

At The Federalist, Sean Davis points out that the splash page also directs users to another page at ppaction.org where they can write their "story" about where they "stand" on Planned Parenthood, in the process of which Planned Parenthood collects their personal information.

"That’s right," says Davis. "Even though ppaction.org redirects to a page saying the site was hacked, the domain still house (sic) a perfectly functional URL and page that are being actively used to help build Planned Parenthood’s fundraising list."

Some hours after the original message was put up, Planned Parenthood changed the message to say simply that the website was "undergoing maintenance."

However, in comments to CNN Wednesday, Dawn Laguens, Planned Parenthood’s executive vice president, said that the website was originally brought down briefly on Wednesday by a distributed denial of service attack. “Although our websites were back online shortly after the attack, in order to ensure that we are fully protected, we’ve made the decision to take our website offline for a day,” she said, according to Jezebel.

The alleged attack comes days after Planned Parenthood had issued a statement claiming that "extremists" opposed to their agenda, "have called on the world’s most sophisticated hackers to assist them in breaching our systems and threatening the privacy and safety of our staff members."

At that time LifeSiteNews spoke with cybersecurity experts who said the attack appeared to be legitimate, but that it was not as sophisticated as Planned Parenthood claimed, given the outdated version of the abortion behemoth’s webserver.

The abortion giant has been reeling in recent weeks from a series of undercover videos, which appear to show high level Planned Parenthood staff negotiating to profit from the sale of body parts harvested from aborted babies. The videos have also shown the staff describing how they alter the abortion procedure to procure the best specimens possible.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack. 

"Planned Parenthood says it’s been hacked by 'extremists,' but a review of the publicly available evidence suggests that the only things being hacked at Planned Parenthood right now are perfectly healthy and viable unborn babies," said Davis.

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