Friday, February 27, 2015

Retrial begins for Philly priest in molestation case

 

PHILADELPHIA Catholic priest took advantage of a quiet kid when he allegedly molested a 10-year-old altar boy in 1997, a prosecutor told a Common Pleas jury yesterday.

The Rev. Andrew McCormick, 58, is being retried a year after a jury remained deadlocked after more than four days of deliberations.

McCormick is accused of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, endangering the welfare of a child and indecent assault of a child under 13 years of age, among other charges.

In her opening statement yesterday, Assistant District Attorney Kristen Kemp said that McCormick had "picked and targeted [the victim] because he wouldn't tell."

The alleged victim, whose name the Daily News is withholding due to the graphic nature of the allegations, is now 28.

The man does not remember the exact date of the alleged incident, but recalls that it was cold outside and that "it was a holy day of obligation," Kemp said in her opening argument.

McCormick allegedly asked the boy, " 'Hey, do you want to see my room upstairs?' " at St. John Cantius Church in Bridesburg, Kemp said.

Once there, the prosecution alleges, McCormick assaulted the boy.

"In an instant, he was not the Father Andy that [the boy] trusted and loved," Kemp told the jury. "He was on him, kissing him and grabbing his genitals."

Kemp further described the priest trying to push his penis into the boy's mouth. When the boy resisted, McCormick allegedly order him to leave.

Kemp said that the alleged victim did not report the incident at that time, but told his cousin a year later and a group on a high-school religious retreat seven years later. Eventually, she said, he told his dad in a middle-of-the-night text message in 2011.

Kemp read the text to the jury: "Hey Dad, I don't want to wake you, but I woke up out of my sleep. And things have been bothering me. And I'm just going to come out and say it. Father Andy molested me."

The defense contends that the alleged victim was a troubled person who "has battled substance abuse for most of his life," McCormick's lawyer, Trevan Borum, said in his opening statement.

"He's been a priest for 30 years," Borum said. "He's served in four different parishes. During that 30 years, he's come into contact with hundreds, if not thousands, of altar boys. [The alleged victim] is the only person in that 30 years that has ever accused Father McCormick of child molestation."

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia placed McCormick on administrative leave in March 2011 in response to allegations of sexual misconduct with minors.

Borum said that when the alleged victim told people at the high-school retreat about the alleged incident "he doesn't say who molested him, he doesn't say when it happened."

The trial continues at 9:30 a.m. today.

Retrial begins for Philly priest in molestation case

Vatican denounces leaks of documents on finance reforms - Yahoo Finance

 

VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican spokesman on Friday condemned as "unworthy and petty" the leaks of documents detailing power struggles inside the Holy See and the expenditures of Pope Francis' new finance czar.

In a cover story Friday, Italy's L'Espresso weekly detailed opposition to Cardinal George Pell's financial reform and revealed that his Secretariat for the Economy had racked up a half million euros (dollars) in expenditures in the last six months. Some of the expenses seemed legitimate, but one was a 2,508-euro ($2,800) bill from Rome's swanky Gamarelli tailor.

The Vatican spokesman, Rev. Federico Lombardi, condemned the leaks as illegal and called the attacks on Pell "unworthy and petty." He said Pell's office was moving ahead efficiently with reforms.

Pope Francis tasked Pell last year to put the Vatican's finances in order after years of mismanagement, waste and scandal. Francis gave him broad powers and the Australian has received widespread support from cardinals outside Rome.

But questions have swirled about the scope of his power and resistance has grown from within the entrenched Vatican bureaucracy, especially after Pell boasted that he had "discovered" hundreds of millions of euros "tucked away" in accounts off the Vatican balance sheet.

In fact, the money was well-known and much of it was purposefully set aside as reserves for funding shortfalls.

The leaks to L'Espresso were clearly aimed at discrediting Pell and harked back to the "Vati-leaks" affair that tarnished the final year of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy. In that scandal, Benedict's butler leaked reams of papal documents to an Italian journalist, aiming to discredit the Vatican's No. 2 official.

The documents also laid bare the dysfunctions and political intrigue that afflict the Vatican bureaucracy — problems that were central to Francis' election as pope with a mandate for reform

Vatican denounces leaks of documents on finance reforms - Yahoo Finance

Homeless Catholic Man Buried At Vatican Cemetery In Honor Of Years Of Faith

 

A homeless man who became a regular figure at the Vatican for his years of Catholic devotion was buried in a Vatican City cemetery after his remains were left in a morgue unidentified for nearly two months. Pope Francis personally authorized Willy Herteller to be buried in the Teutonic Cemetery, which was founded around the year 800 as a resting place for knights, fallen Swiss guards and royalty.

Herteller, thought to be around 80 years old, “attended 7 o’clock Mass every day for more than 25 years,” said the Rev. Bruno Silvestrinia, pastor of the Vatican’s Church of St. Anne, according to the National Catholic Reporter. He had become known by the Swiss Guard, church officials and other regulars around the Vatican. He would often hang out near St. Peter’s Square and discuss his faith with tourists and pilgrims who came to Vatican City, surviving on their charity and the help of locals.

Herteller died on Dec. 12, 2014, after collapsing on a cold night outside the Vatican grounds and ….

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Pope Francis' "Mexicanization" remark gets him into trouble with Mexico - CBS News

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Pope's finance czar under scrutiny over spending expose - Yahoo News

 

Pope Francis' finance czar is coming under intense scrutiny after ruffling feathers at the Vatican as he seeks to impose order on its unruly finances.

Italian weekly L'Espresso reported in its Friday editions that Cardinal George Pell's economy secretariat had run up a half-million euros (dollars) in expenses in the first six months of its existence. The total includes seemingly legitimate expenses, including computers and printers, but also a 2,508 euro bill from the famed Gamarelli clergy tailor.

The expenditures are notable given that Pell has instituted a spending review across the Vatican to ensure any excess money is spent on the poor, L'Espresso noted.

Resistance to the Australian Pell from the largely Italian Vatican bureaucracy has been growing steadily but spiked in December after he boasted that he had "discovered" hundreds of millions of euros that had been "tucked away" in sectional accounts off the Vatican balance sheet.

In fact, the money was well-known and was purposefully kept off the books, much of it set aside for use as reserves for funding shortfalls.

The leak of Pell's receipts to L'Espresso — as well as other documents detailing cardinals' complaints about his efforts — was clearly aimed at discrediting him and harked back to the Vatileaks affair that badly tarnished the final year of Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI's papacy.

In that scandal, which some say prompted Benedict's resignation, the pope's butler leaked reams of papal documents to an Italian journalist that were aimed at discrediting Benedict's No. 2, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

The documents also laid bare the dysfunctions and political intrigue that afflict the Vatican bureaucracy — problems that were central to Francis' election as pope with a mandate for reform.

The Vatican spokesman declined to comment late Thursday.

Pope's finance czar under scrutiny over spending expose - Yahoo News

Training sessions help local Catholics explain the faith to journalists - Catholic Philly

 

When Pope Francis visits Philadelphia this September following the World Meeting of Families, in addition to the huge numbers of the faithful in town hoping to see and hear the Holy Father, it’s a certainty there will be thousands of journalists all trying to get a unique quote, if not from the lips of Francis himself but from people who came to see and hear him.

Since there will be far too many for the Communications staffs of the archdiocese and the World Meeting of Families to serve, an invitation went out for volunteers who are knowledgeable in the faith to attend weekend training sessions so they will be able to articulate the faith in the public square as needed.

In a letter last December, Archbishop Charles Chaput said more than 5,000 reporters are expected to be present in Philadelphia for the families’ congress Sept. 22-25 and the papal visit Sept. 25-27.

“We’re going to need well-informed priests, religious and lay people from across the archdiocese who represent the broad spectrum of our diverse Catholic family to help us speak to the media about Church teaching on a variety of matters,” he said.

He invited local Catholics to attend training sessions offered by Catholic Voices USA in conjunction with the Communications Office of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and communications personnel with the World Meeting of Families.

Founded in 2012, Catholic Voices USA is one of a dozen similar groups around the world patterned after Catholic Voices UK, which was founded in 2010. Catholic Voices has done similar training in a number of dioceses.

The purpose is not to tell people what they should say but rather how they should express it, and the techniques are effective no matter what the topic. By coincidence when Catholic Voices UK was founded, the first issue they dealt with was a visit by Pope Benedict XVI to England.

The initial training sessions were held at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in January and most recently on Friday evening, Feb. 20 and Saturday, Feb. 21. Fifteen people had signed up to come to last week’s sessions, according to Lizanne Magarity-Pando, director of communications and marketing for the World Meeting of Families.

Read the entire article by clicking on the following:  Training sessions help local Catholics explain the faith to journalists - Catholic Philly

Two years on: forgotten pope sees out days in the shadows - Yahoo News

 

A year ago he was quoted as saying that his decision to step down had been the product of a mystical experience and that Francis's confident leadership had helped him understand why God had willed him to step aside.

He wrote to Italian newspaper La Stampa to dismiss a claim that he had been forced out against his will: which, were it true, would invalidate Francis's status as the leader of the Church.

There has also been much speculation that Benedict quit because he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, unable to cope with the pressure of the top job in an institution beset by a series of problems ranging from paedophile clerics to financial scandals surrounding the Vatican bank.

The leaking of his personal correspondence by his butler Paolo Gabriele was said to have left Benedict deeply dismayed, the resulting court case having lifted the lid on a Vatican hierarchy beset by corruption, nepotism and fierce internal rivalries.

On all those questions however, the now Emeritus Pope has maintained a discreet silence, as he promised he would at the time of his departure.

Whether he genuinely approves of Francis in terms of style and/or substance remains unknown.

But what does seem clear is that the 87-year-old seems to be in better health now than he was when he made his shock announcement to cardinals that he no longer had the strength of mind or body to carry on.

His private secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, recently revealed that Benedict regularly plays Mozart on the piano from memory.

 

He is a little unsteady on his legs at times but not alarmingly so for a man approaching his 88th birthday.

And intellectually, according to Ganswein, he is as sharp as ever, having recently produced a theological text on questions of truth for the benefit of Vatican scholars.

Francis has insisted there is no friction between the two popes.

"The last time there were two or three popes, they didn't talk among themselves and they fought over who was the true pope," he joked in July 2013.

And there was a flash of affection when the new pope said of the unusual situation of having two popes living so close to each other: "It is like having a grandfather – a wise grandfather – living at home."

But Vatican expert Andrea Tornielli says no one should be in any doubt as to who is the boss. "Benedict is very discreet. If he appears in public it is at Francis's request."

Two years on: forgotten pope sees out days in the shadows - Yahoo News